$1.44 Million for Edward S. Curtis’s The North American Indian

Yesterday Swann sold a complete set of Edward S. Curtis’s The North American Indian for $1,440,000–the highest priced item ever sold at New York’s premiere auction house for works on paper.

The top lot in yesterday’s auction of Fine Photographs & Photobooks was also the top lot ever sold at Swann Galleries. A set of Edward S. Curtis’s magnum opus, The North American Indian, complete with 20 text volumes and 20 folios, brought $1.44 million dollars–more than any other single lot sold at Swann in our 70-year history. In 1952, Swann conducted the first auction devoted to photobooks in the United States. 

Daile Kaplan, Swann Vice President and Director of Photographs & Photobooks, said, “We were very pleased to have sold this iconic work by a major 20th century artist. The price reflects the rarity and beauty of this American masterpiece and the interest in photobooks as an artform.”

Prices for other early photographs were also strong. A multi-panel panorama image of lower Manhattan from 1876, showing a portion of the Brooklyn Bridge still under construction, brought $96,000 and an album of cyanotypes of Colorado sold for $56,000.