Initially drawn to California by the great gold rush of the time, Watkins instead turned to his photographic skills. Outfitted with both mammothplate and stereoscopic cameras, he embarked in 1861 on his great photographic expedition.
This disbound collection of his photographic plates was contained in a morocco gilt slipcase of the period, titled in gilt letters ‘Watkins’ Yosemite Valley’. They took a low-estimate $90,000 (£67,165).
Pick of Prang
Lacking just one of the 15 splendid chromolitho plates produced by Louis Prang from the original paintings of Thomas Moran, a copy of The Yellowstone National Park, and the Mountain Regions of Portions of Idaho, Nevada, Colorado and Utah of 1876 also seemed quite modestly priced when also sold for $90,000 (£67,165) at Sotheby’s New York (26/20/13.9% buyer’s premium) on January 14-25.
Complete copies have made as much as $320,000 at auction.