Cowan’s Auctions



2015-06-26 10:52:53

Cowan’s Auctions is an American auction house, dealing primarily in art but covering a wide range of categories. Its headquarters are located in Cincinnati, USA.


Foundation and ownership

Cowan’s was established in 1994. The company is owned by founder Wes Cowan, who is an internationally recognised expert in Historic Americana.

The company has grown from a one-man shop to a national leader in the auction business, generating $20m of sales per year.

Expertise and services

Wes Cowan is a highly regarded antiques expert. After pursuing a lengthy academic career, he turned to his childhood love of antiques.

Cowan has featured on several US television programs (including Antiques Roadshow), writes a newspaper column and regularly speaks at antiques events.

Cowan’s holds major consignment auctions throughout the year, with more than 1,000 bidders usually participating in a sale.


The company also provides complete insurance and free storage for consigned items, and provides photographic, advertising and cataloguing services for clients.


Fine & Decorative Art

Led by Diane Wachs, this department conducts four major auctions a year. This covers American, European and Asian furniture, paintings, silver and pottery from the 18th to the 20th Centuries.

Folk Art

Also headed by Wachs, this department focuses on unique, American folk art such as weathervanes, tramp art, samplers, portraits and miniatures.

Paintings & Prints

Overseen by Graydon Sikes, this department holds four annual auctions. With focus on 19th and 20th Century art, the department offers American and continental paintings, sculpture and works on paper.


Headed by Garth Clark and Mark Del Vecchio, the department offers modern and contemporary ceramics from across the world in semi-annual auctions.

Firearms & Military

Led by Jack Lewis, the department holds annual sales including firearms, weapons and flags, dating from the American Revolutionary War up to and including the Second World War.

Historic Americana

Wes Cowan’s area of expertise, the department auctions rare items such as autographs and scarce Daguerreian images, manuscripts, books and maps. Sales are held twice a year.

American Indian Art

Headed by Danica M. Farnand, the department has sold over $11m of American Indian art. Items are wide-ranging, originating from the Arctic and Northwest coast to the South West of the USA.

Auction Catalogs


  • May 17, 2013 - Modern and Contemporary Ceramics
  • May 31, 2013 - American Indian Jewelry
  • June 21, 2013 - American History
  • July 13-14, 2013 - Fine and Decorative Art
  • August 21, 2013 - Modern Firearms & World at War
  • September 13, 2013 - Asian Art
  • September 20, 2013 - American Indian and Western Art

Notable sales

In June 2010, a carte de visite signed by Abraham Lincoln sold for $38,775.

According to its website, Cowan’s sold a First Model Henry Rifle for $207,000 in October 2010 – nearly double its high estimate of $125,000.

News & Events

Upcoming auction dates

  • Jan 18 - Asian Art
  • Feb 28 - The World at War
  • Mar 9 - Winter Fine and Decorative Art
  • Mar 18 - American History
  • Apr 5 - American Indian Art
  • Apr 14 - Fine Jewelry and Timepieces
  • May 1 - Historic Firearms and Early Militaria
  • May 13 - American Indian Jewelry
  • May 17 - 20th Century Art + Design
  • May 17 - Cowans+Clark+DelVecchio Modern and Contemporary Ceramics
  • Jun 21 - American History
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