Unpublished Harriet Tubman photo smashes estimate

A civil war era carte de visite album featuring an unpublished photo of abolitionist Harriet Tubman led Swann Auction Galleries’ African Americana sale.

It sold for $161,000 yesterday, a 436.6% increase on its $30,000 estimate.

The album belonged to Emily Howland, a Quaker who taught at a school for freed slaves in Arlington, Virginia.

Harriet Tubman photo

Harriet Tubman is due to be the new face of the $20 note

It features two photos of Tubman, one well known shot of her as an older woman and another unseen image showing her as she was in her youth.

Tubman lived an extraordinary life.

She was born into slavery in Maryland in 1822 and escaped to Philadelphia in 1849. When she arrived in the free states, she immediately went back to the south to rescue her friends and family.

During the civil war she served as a spy for the Union army and helped secure the release of thousands of slaves.

Today she’s celebrated as a great American hero and was recently selected to replace President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill.

The book also includes the only known image of John Willis Menard, the first black man elected to the House of Representatives (in 1868).

While he won the election, Menard was prevented from taking his seat.

Other highlights of the auction included a vast archive of material pertaining to doo-wop vocal group the Ink Spots.

It contained correspondence, flyers, sheet music and records from the band’s 20 year history.  

It made $9,375 against a $6,000 estimate.

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