Rare Watercolor of Edgar Allen Poe for Cowan’s Auction

Cowan’s Auctions, a leader in auctions of significant historical artifacts, has been tapped by Edgar Allen Poe scholar Cliff Krainik to sell at auction a previously-unknown watercolor portrait of Poe by A.C. Smith. Wes Cowan, President and Principal Auctioneer, estimates that the portrait could sell between $30,000 and $50,000.

“Cowan’s is delighted to have been chosen by Cliff to help market the piece. We look forward to receiving the consignment, when the real work will begin to determine more about the artist, when it was made, and what it represents in terms of Poe’s life” commented Cowan.

Unveiled this weekend, the portrait is currently on display at Westminster Hall in Baltimore in conjunction with celebrations of the 201st anniversary of Poe’s birth. Following its exhibition, it will be sent to Cowan’s for verification of and expansion upon Krainik’s research of the piece, in preparation for its auction. The watercolor will come to the block in Cowan’s May 22, 2010 American Scene Auction of furniture, paintings, and folk art.

On choosing Cowan’s to auction the watercolor, Krainik commented, “I’ve known Wes for years and I’ve always been impressed with his professionalism and integrity. I’ve followed the progress of Cowan’s and they’ve produced some fantastic catalogues; Wes takes considerable care to research what he sells and I felt very comfortable selling it with him.”

For Poe enthusiasts, the emergence of an unknown Poe artifact ignites excitement and, often, spirited bidding if the item comes to auction. In December 2009, Sotheby’s sold a copy of Poe’s “Tamerlane and Other Poems” for $662,500. A featured appraiser on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, Cowan appraised in 2004 a daguerreotype of Poe for $30,000 to $50,000 on the show. The daguerreotype was later determined to be stolen, and after its return to the library from which it was taken, it sold at auction for $150,000.

“I was familiar with Wes’s involvement with the daguerreotype that he appraised on the Roadshow. I actually saw the original in the ‘70s before it disappeared. His background with the Poe daguerreotype was certainly another plus that helped my decision to consign,” noted Krainik.

Catalogues for Cowan’s American Scene Auction, featuring the watercolor, will be available in April.

About Cowan’s Auctions, Inc.

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’s four divisions of Historical Americana, American Indian and Western Art, American and European Fine and Decorative Art, and Historic Firearms & Early Militaria hold semi-annual cataloged sales that routinely set records for rare offerings.

Through its extensive mailing list of more than 33,000 collectors, dealers and institutional clients, each Cowan’s auction typically attracts more than 1,000 bidders from across the globe. To learn more about Cowan’s visit our website at www.cowans.com

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