Lot 902: P. T. Barnum

RR Auction

2015-11-30 14:52:52

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Lot 902: ALS, one page both sides, 5.75 x 9, Marina, Bridgeport, CT, letterhead, September 12, 1889. Letter to Rockwood, in part: "I telegraphed you today to print 100 of my photos soon as possible. The reason of haste is, one of our agents sails for Dresden next Wednesday early & if he could call on you & get this hundred on Tuesday P.M. next he would take them to English editors. If you can't have them ready by that time, I must send them later by mail. If you could print my autograph with them, all the better. Meanwhile if you have one of my cabinets on hand please mail it early Friday…I order this 100 on my own back without seeing my manager Mr Bailey, who attends to & decides all details of show. When I see him we will decide whether or not to increase the order. The Bowery man (Eisenmann) makes them I believe for about $60 per 1000—but yours are far superior—though Bailey may think the other will answer the purpose. I saw the other day a photo-graveur of your picture of me made by some firm in Brooklyn. I wrote to ask them for what price they would make me 5,000 or more of a reduced size—(about 3.5 by 4.5 inches) for frontispiece of my cheap autobiographies. I can get no answer from them & have lost their address. Perhaps you can put me in the way of getting thousands of these photo-graveurs from your picture—at a nominal price—about the cost of the woodcut which is now used for my portrait in book. If so, they can put their name & yours on the plate & thus extend the advertisement in many thousand volumes." In fine condition, with light toning to the left border, trivial paper loss to the upper left corner, and a spot of adhesive remnants to the reverse upper right corner. Accompanied by an original unsigned carte-de-visite portrait of Barnum by an anonymous studio. Eisenmann's most notable work consisted of portraits of human oddities from the Barnum and Bailey circus, including Jojo the Dog-faced Boy, Siamese twins Chang and Eng, and Tom Thumb. Because of this relationship, it is surprising to see that Barnum preferred Rockwood. A letter that reveals some strife in the relationship between Barnum and Bailey, and contains truly spectacular photographic content. RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 466 Wednesday, 9th December 2015 Estimate: $1500-2000
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