Cowan's Auctions

As one of the nation’s leading auction houses with sales approaching $20 million, Cowan’s has been helping individuals and institutions build important collections for more than a decade. The company has seven divisions consisting of American History, American Indian and Western Art, American and European Fine and Decorative Art, Historic Firearms & Early Militaria, Asian Art, Ceramics, and Jewellery.

Throughout the year Cowan's Auctions holds major consignment auctions, each supported by a full colour catalogue that is sent to buyers throughout the United States and Canada. An internet-only version typically attracts buyers from South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Japan. More than 1,000 bidders usually participate in each sale.

Cowan's provides complete insurance and free storage for your consigned items. Their service includes all photography, advertising and catalogue preparation of the items that are consigned to them.

  • United Kingdom
  • USA
Objects "Cowan's Auctions"

French POW Carving Dated 1810, Dedicated to Captain John Mitford, British Navy

Unique, folk art carved wooden relic in the form of a large handled instrument with wooden and metal tines, 13.25 in. ln. An anchor surrounded by leaves as well as the following name is carved in low relief along the top of the handle: "Captain Mitford. Royal Navy." The underside of the handle features a highly detailed carving of a seahorse, with intricate, low relief carvings below the seahorse's head, including arms holding up a boar's head on a dagger, a shield decorated with turtles, and floral and leaf motifs. The date "1810" is carved below the seahorse's long tail. The following phrases are carved along each side of the top of the handle's thin rim, one side carved in the French language, with translations included: "Cut by Henrion Whilst Prisoner on the Island of Cabrera / Grotto"; and "Hannibals Espoir [Hope] / La Misere est la Mere de L'Industrie [Misery is the Mother of Industry]." With the words "Jilblas" and "Santillan" carved along each side of the curved end of the fork-like portion of the instrument. This may be a reference to L'Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane, a picaresque novel by Alain-René Lesage published between 1715 and 1735. The name "Captain Mitford," likely refers to John, or Jack, Mitford, (1782-1831) a British naval officer, poet, and journalist who is best known for writing the book, The Adventures of Johnny Newcome in the Navy. He served with the Royal Navy from 1795-1811, participating in both the French Revolutionary Wars as well as the Napoleonic Wars. In 1810, the date referenced on the carved instrument, Mitford served as acting-master of the brig Philomel in the Mediterranean. While no further information has been discovered regarding the carver, "Henrion," he was almost certainly one of the 9,000+ French prisoners of war that were exiled to the bleak Island of Cabrera in the Mediterranean following their surrender to Spanish forces at the Battle of Bailen. This was the first ever open field defeat of the Napoleonic army that occurred in July 1808. By the time the prisoners were repatriated to France after Napoleon’s defeat five years later, their number had dwindled to approximately 2,500.Read more

  • 1d 22h
Low estimate
380 GBP

Maryland Confederate 1861 Broadside Issued by CSA General Bradley

Printed broadside, 7.25 x 6.5 in., To the People of Frederick County. N.d., ca 1861. Broadside features "London" seal embossed at upper right corner. Text below title warns Maryland citizens of the impending Civil War, explaining that the only way forward is to "act promptly, decidedly, resolutely." The broadside then insists that the people of Maryland vote to "determine their future course and position..." Readers are persuaded against taking up arms against the southern states, as broadside proclaims, "the honor, the pledges, the welfare, the interests, the feeling of the People of Maryland are Southern, and with Virginia and the South." It continues by asserting, "We are Determined to oppose all efforts, by whomsoever made, to separate us from her and them." The Maryland residents "who agree with us" are then invited to Frederick City on January 16, 1861 for a chance to determine the next steps for the state regarding the approaching war. Ink inscription at bottom of broadside reads, "Signed by [indecipherable] — J.M. Kilgour — E. Louis Lowe — [indecipherable] A. Lynch — Bradley T. Johnson, and others — " Inscription is in one hand, possibly of Confederate States Army General Bradley Tyler Johnson. Bradley Tyler Johnson (1829-1903) was involved in both the political and military aspects of the Civil War, serving as a delegate to the National Democratic Convention at Baltimore in 1860 where he and many from his delegation pulled out of the convention and joined with the southern wing of their party, supporting John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane as nominees for President and Vice President. Once the war broke out, Johnson contributed to the forming of the 1st Maryland Infantry CSA, and served as a major and, later, a colonel within that regiment. He was involved in the notable May 1862 Battle of Front Royal, in which the 1st Maryland regiments from both Union and Confederate Armies fought against each other. It was prior to this battle that Johnson heroically rallied his men, many of whom were discontented over delayed discharges, with a powerful speech invoking honor, loyalty, and the glory of Maryland. Johnson and the 1st Maryland also fought at the First Battle of Winchester and the Battle of Cross Keys. Johnson himself was at the Seven Days Battles, part of the Peninsula Campaign, numerous major battles near Richmond between June and July of 1862, and was eventually promoted to brigadier general of cavalry on June 28, 1864.Read more

  • 1d 22h
Low estimate
1 500 GBP

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Cowan's Auctions, Inc.
6270 Este Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45232

Telephone: +1-513-871-1670
Fax: +1-513-871-8670
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