Lightning Strikes Twice at John's Western Gallery
Maps and charts are of course among the choice raw material of history and seven lots offered brought out buyer lust. A map of Santa Monica dated 1875 brought $5,750 against an estimate of $800 to $1,200 and a 5 page "Description of Orange and Vine Lands in Los Angeles" with map brought $1,840 against an estimate of $300 to $400. Overall maps and charts brought almost 3 times the low estimates and twice the highs. Early Los Angeles city directories, lots 143-145, brought $6,325, $7,475 and $6,900, a total of $20,800, again more than twice the high estimates. An albumen-print carte de visite of "Tiburcio Vasquez, the notorious Bandit," brought $2,875, a sum probably greater than all the money he obtained at gun-point and evidence that he might have done better shooting photographs. For those who needed confirmation of his capture lot 111 was a "Diagram of the Scene of the Capture of Vasquez" which brought $3,450 against an estimate of $1,500 to $2,500. If you are now curious about Mr. Vasquez here is a link to the archives at USC which have a piece on him. www.usc.edu/libraries/archives/la/scandals/Vasquez.html
Several Chinese items brought good prices. An 1878 speech on Chinese exclusion delivered by the Hon. Jas. J. Ayers to the committee of the [state] Constitutional Convention brought $1,495 against an estimate of $800 to $1,200. A letter signed by H. D. Barrows expressing anti-Chinese sentiments and dated 1878, brought $546 against an estimate of $250 to $350.
Bargain hunters found the spotty bidding appealing and bought unloved material for well under the low estimate. One buyer paid $74.75 for 6 such lots, a remarkable if unexpected bounty. These lots included early billheads, a newspaper receipt, "Minutes of the First Session of the Southern California Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church,...", and "Reminicences de l'Hymne de la France a l'Ennemi!" which is thought to be possibly the first Los Angeles imprint in French.
You never know what you'll find at an auction. That's why you go.
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