Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Daguerreotype of John Brown makes $97,750 at auction

A rare daguerreotype of abolitionist John Brown was bought Friday by an unidentified bidder for $97,750, at an auction in Cincinnati on Friday.

It had been estimated at $60,000 to $80,000.

Experts say probably no more than a half dozen original daguerreotypes exist of the man best known for his 1859 raid on a federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Va.

A daguerreotype is an early form of photography popular in the 1840s and 1850s in which an image is formed on a chemically treated metal plate. The method was named for Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre, the French painter who developed the process.

The photo auctioned Friday was in Brown's family for five generations.

Brown was born in 1800 in Connecticut and was a free-state activist in Kansas before the October 1859 raid that he hoped would inspire an anti-slavery rebellion.
He was wounded while being captured, and was tried and hanged by the state of Virginia for treason two months later.

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