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Lot 217: Black Western Pioneer, William A.G. Brown

Est: $500 USD - $750 USDSold:
Fleischer's Auction HouseMay 14, 2024Columbus, Ohio, OH, US

Item Overview

Description

Full-length studio CDV portrait of William A.G. Brown. [Virginia City, Nevada]: Sutterley Brothers, ca 1866. Period ink inscription to mount verso reads," Wm. A G Brown" alongside a partially obliterated photographer's imprint.

An excellent portrait of Black pioneer and saloon-owner, William A.G. Brown. Free-born in Massachusetts circa 1830, not much is known of Brown's early life, though some historians speculate that he gained early work experience in restaurants or hotels. He immigrated west in 1863, settling in Virginia City, Nevada, a boomtown settled in 1859 upon the discovery of silver in the monumentally productive Comstock Lode. Brown was joined by immigrants from across the globe attracted by the prospect of silver wealth. Initially a shoeshine, he opened the Boston Saloon on B Street, described as being on "an upslope location along Virginia City's mountainside setting and well beyond the center of town."

Although there were dozens of saloons operating in Virginia City by the early 1860s, none yet catered to the Black community. The African American populations was not district limited like the Chinese populations, but rather spread across town. By 1866, it must have had reached success and moved locations to the more central location on the corner of D and Union Street, in the heart of the vibrant business district. Excavation of the Boston Saloon occurred during several archaeological endeavors in 1990s and early 2000s, and revealed a high level of sophistication in the offerings of the Boston Saloon. Finds reveal French champagne, English soda water, and an early example of Tabasco hot sauce, first introduced in 1869, and the only Virginia City archaeological site to reveal such a bottle. The animal bones studied also showed expensive cuts of meat including an abundance of beef and sheep. The sophistication of offerings suggest that the clientele was affluent, and likely both Black and white. Brown sold the Boston Saloon in 1875 to retire, and the same year it was leveled in the Great Fire and was not rebuilt. (Kelly J. Dixon. "Archaeology of the Boston Saloon." African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter. Vol. 9, Issue 2, June 2006).

The image was taken by Curtis and J.K. Sutterley, pioneering brothers who opened several studios throughout Nevada and Utah between 1865 and 1875. Though partly obliterated, almost certainly from the removal of a revenue stamp, the photographer's imprint is clearly that of J.K. and Clement Sutterley, with their "Sutterley Brothers, / Photographers, / Union Block, B. Street. cor. Taylor, / Virginia, N." imprint, comparable to other extant examples. They operated this studio from at least 1867 (Carl Mautz, Biographies of Western Photographers, pp. 320-321), however, the removed revenue stamp suggests a date of 1866, during the peak of the Boston Saloon's operation. Notably, the photographic studio and the Boston Saloon were only a block away from one another. J.K. Sutterley was apparently a well known figure in Virginia City, with the Gold Hill Daily News reporting that J.K. Sutterely celebrated his return to Virginia City purchasing "Hedger & Noe's gallery, Suttereley's old place, corner of C and Taylor streets" and "In order to mark the event properly he sent us some champagne, in bottles. It is not in bottles now. Sutterley is bound to succeed well always." (Gold HIll Daily News, 2 July 1872).

Images of Western pioneer African Americans are exceedingly scarce, especially those identified. As Weston Naef, founding curator of photography at the J. Paul Getty Museum notes in his introduction to Hidden Witness: African American Images from the Dawn of Photography to the Civil War by Jackie Napoleon Wilson,"such pictures are very rare to begin with - there were few African American photographers and very few black people had the money, time, or freedom for a portrait sitting - and those pictures that do exist are not well documented as to maker, place, subject, or date." This image is a powerful testament to the existence and vibrant life, both private and public, of an early Black business owner in an iconic Western mining boomtown.

Condition: some toning and spotting.

[African Americana, African American History, Western Expansion, Pioneer, Wild West, Comstock Lode, Mining History, Nevada, Early Photography, Historic Photography, Albumen, CDV, Carte de Visite, Cartes de Visite, Carte-de-Visite, Cabinet Cards] [African Americana, African American History, Black History, Historic Photography, Early Photography, Daguerreotype, Ambrotype, Tintype, Cased Images, Union Cases]

Payment & Shipping

Payment

Accepted forms of payment: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Personal Check, Visa

Shipping

Fleischer's Auctions packages and ships most items in-house. Consideration is made to ensure the lowest rate charged possible while still meeting our package safety standards. Large items and large framed pieces may not be able to be packaged and shipped in-house, these items will be marked in the catalog as being packaged and shipped by a third-party service. Bidders that are successful in winning items marked as being packaged and shipped by a third-party service are responsible for paying the third-party directly. We are happy to offer complimentary drop-off service to local third-party packing/shipping companies in Columbus, Ohio. Once an item is dropped off and no longer in our possession, Fleischer's Auctions is not to be held liable for the item's safe handling or shipment to the successful bidder.

All packages valued at over $250 are shipped with a signature required upon delivery. All packages handled and shipped in-house by Fleischer's Auctions are not insured unless insurance is requested. Successful bidders who would like their packages insured are responsible for notifying us that this is the case and are responsible for paying the cost of insurance.

Auction Details

Civil War & African American History: William T. Sherman Collection

by
Fleischer's Auction House
May 14, 2024, 09:00 AM EST

503 S. High St. Suite 200, Columbus, Ohio, OH, 43215, US

Terms

Live bidding may start higher or lower

Buyer's Premium

$0 - 99:23.0%
$100 - 999:23.0%
$1,000 - 9,999:23.0%
$10,000 - 99,999:23.0%
$100,000+:23.0%

Bidding Increments

From:To:Increment:
$0$99$10
$100$299$25
$300$999$50
$1,000$4,999$100
$5,000$9,999$250
$10,000$19,999$500
$20,000$29,999$500
$30,000$39,999$500
$40,000$49,999$500
$50,000$59,999$500
$60,000$69,999$500
$70,000$79,999$500
$80,000+$500

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These Conditions of Sale set out the terms upon which American Heritage Antiques LLC DBA Fleischer's Auctions (henceforth "Fleischer's Auctions,""we," "us," or "our") sells property by lot in this catalog. You agree to be bound by these terms by registering to bid and/or by bidding in our auction by any and all platforms and methods.

Fleischer's Auctions is licensed and bonded in favor of the state of Ohio.

Fleischer's Auctions does not accept liability for personal information kept by our online third-party platform partners. Fleischer's Auctions does not accept liability for agreements made (regarding automatic payment, etc.) by bidders with our online third-party platform partners.

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LOT CONDITION


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We may, in our sole discretion, withdraw a lot from auction at any time prior to or during the sale and shall have no liability to you for our decision to withdraw.


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The auctioneer will accept bids from online bidders that use the online bidding platform bid.fleischersauctions.com and third-party bidding platforms. Third-party bidding platforms include, but are not limited to, liveauctioneers.com and invaluable.com.

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The auctioneer may, at his/her sole discretion, bid on behalf of the seller up to one bidding increment before the reserve by making either consecutive or responsive bids. The auctioneer will not identify these as bids made on behalf of the seller.

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SUCCESSFUL BID


The highest bidder acknowledged by the auctioneer will be the purchaser. In the case of a tie bid, the winning bidder will determined by the auctioneer at his or her sole discretion. In the event of a dispute between bidders, the auctioneer has final discretion to determine the successful bidder or to re-offer the lot in dispute. If any dispute arises after the sale, Fleischer's Auctions sale record shall be conclusive. Fleischer's Auctions is not liable for erroneous communication received from a third-party bidding platform regarding the status of your bid.

PAYMENT


All bidders are given 72 hours after an invoice has been sent to make or arrange payment. If payment is not made or arranged within 72 hours of an invoice being sent, Fleischer's Auctions reserves the right to cancel the sale. Successful bidders who do not plan on paying online and would like to send a check by mail, make a wire transfer, pay in-person, or pay by other means, are required to notify Fleischer's Auctions of how they will be paying within 72 hours of their invoice being sent. If payment online is not made and notification is not given to Fleischer's Auctions within 72 hours of an invoice being sent, Fleischer's Auctions reserves the right to cancel the sale. ****Please note, bidders who use a third-party platform may have their credit/card card on file automatically charged by the third-party platform's payment processor. Bidders are encouraged to review their third-party platform's payment rules and procedures before participating in the auction.

SHIPPING


Fleischer's Auctions packages and ships most items in-house. Consideration is made to ensure the lowest rate charged possible while still meeting our package safety standards. Large items and large framed pieces may not be able to be packaged and shipped in-house, these items will be marked in the catalog as being packaged and shipped by a third-party service. Bidders that are successful in winning items marked as being packaged and shipped by a third-party service are responsible for paying the third-party directly. We are happy to offer complimentary drop-off service to local third-party packing/shipping companies in Columbus, Ohio. Once an item is dropped off and no longer in our possession, Fleischer's Auctions is not to be held liable for the item's safe handling or shipment to the successful bidder.

SUCCESSFUL ONLINE BIDDER SHIPMENT ADDRESS


Successful bidders online are solely responsible for ensuring their shipment address is correct and up-to-date on their account profile. Account profiles are created by bidders online on bid.fleischersauctions.com and third-party bidding platforms- they contain a bidder's personal information, including their shipment address. If a successful bidder does not contact us before their item(s) is shipped to notify us of their correct shipment address, and their account profile is associated with an old or incorrect shipment address, Fleischer's Auctions is not to be held liable for lost or damaged items sent to the incorrect address associated with the successful bidder's account profile. Bidders are encouraged to check their online account profile on bid.fleischersauctions.com and third-party bidding platforms to ensure their shipment address is correct before bidding.

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All packages valued at over $250 are shipped with a signature required upon delivery. All packages handled and shipped in-house by Fleischer's Auctions are not insured unless insurance is requested. Successful bidders who would like their packages insured are responsible for notifying us that this is the case and are responsible for paying the cost of insurance.

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Return requests must be made within 90 days following the auction and are rewarded at the discretion of Fleischer's Auctions. Return requests made after 90 days will not be considered.

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Buyers who use Invaluable Payments agree to allow their card on file to be charged for the full invoice amount 48 hours following receipt of invoice. All bidders are given 72 hours after an invoice has been sent to make or arrange payment. If payment is not made or arranged within 72 hours of an invoice being sent, Fleischer's Auctions reserves the right to cancel the sale. Successful bidders who do not plan on paying online and would like to send a check by mail, make a wire transfer, pay in-person, or pay by other means, are required to notify Fleischer's Auctions of how they will be paying within 72 hours of their invoice being sent. If payment online is not made and notification is not given to Fleischer's Auctions within 72 hours of an invoice being sent, Fleischer's Auctions reserves the right to cancel the sale.

Shipping Terms

Fleischer's Auctions packages and ships most items in-house. Consideration is made to ensure the lowest rate charged possible while still meeting our package safety standards. Large items and large framed pieces may not be able to be packaged and shipped in-house, these items will be marked in the catalog as being packaged and shipped by a third-party service. Bidders that are successful in winning items marked as being packaged and shipped by a third-party service are responsible for paying the third-party directly. We are happy to offer complimentary drop-off service to local third-party packing/shipping companies in Columbus, Ohio. Once an item is dropped off and no longer in our possession, Fleischer's Auctions is not to be held liable for the item's safe handling or shipment to the successful bidder.

All packages valued at over $250 are shipped with a signature required upon delivery. All packages handled and shipped in-house by Fleischer's Auctions are not insured unless insurance is requested. Successful bidders who would like their packages insured are responsible for notifying us that this is the case and are responsible for paying the cost of insurance.

Premium

23% buyer's premium on all lots. This charge does not include an at-cost debit/credit card fee of 2.9%. This fee will not be assessed if the buyer pays using a check or wire transfer.