Buffalo Bill Photographs
Appraised Value: $2,000 - $2,500 (1998)
$2,000 - $2,500 (2011)
IMAGE: 1 of 4
Appraisal Video: (2:15)
C. Wesley Cowan
Arms & Militaria, Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Folk Art, Photographs
Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
GUEST: My great-aunt on my mother's side was the last surviving member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
APPRAISER: Wow, that's great.
GUEST: And these pictures have always been in my family.
APPRAISER: Now, you were saying that she also was a trick rider in Buffalo Bill's show, right?
APPRAISER: They're really special photographs, I think, for that reason, but they also have a lot of historical value. Buffalo Bill was one of these great American icons who came forward at the end of the Indian Wars period. The Northern Plains Indians had been pacified by the United States government, and there was still this yearning, though, for the old frontier spirit, and Buffalo Bill stepped into the breach to take care of that. He traveled through Europe and played before the European royalty by the dozen. He was a great popular hero of America's late 19th century. He also had a lot of photographs taken of him-- he was photographed dozens of times-- and these are some great photographs from his career. And they really are nice because they sort of span different parts of his career. We've got a nice early photograph by a New York photographer that shows him in his sort of frontier uniform, and he's really the showman there. Here, we've got him late in his career-- really towards the end of his career, in Cody, Wyoming-- but the real special one is here. This is a photograph that I think is great. It shows him as a businessman, but it's also autographed to your great-aunt by Buffalo Bill. The autographed photograph alone is probably worth between $1,500 and $2,000.
APPRAISER: This photograph is probably $300 to $400, or maybe $500, and this is a lesser-valued photograph, maybe a couple hundred dollars. So we've got a total value here of about $2,000 to $2,500.
APPRAISER: Are you surprised?
GUEST: I'm surprised, I just... I've always had these and I love them and I would never part with them because they're my heritage, but I had no idea they were worth that much money.
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