News-Antique.com - Sep 22,2009 - Newtown, Conn. – Among the antique furniture, paintings, silver and other decorations at Fairfield Auction this month is a rare artifact of the American Frontier. In a small autograph book are the signatures of Cole, Jim and Bob Younger together with Bob Ford- all dated 1882. The four men partnered with Jesse and Frank James and were known as The James-Younger Gang, robbing banks, trains and stagecoaches throughout Missouri and the adjacent states in the 1870s.
While signatures of any members of The James-Younger Gang are rare, a group of four together is possibly unique. How they came to be in this album is interesting. It was consigned by descendants of Leopold Kahn, who was discovered by P.T. Barnum in 1870. Kahn was 25” tall and billed as “Admiral Dot”. By 1882 Kahn was touring with The Royal Lilliputian Opera Company, which included other famous little people of the day.
By 1882 The Younger brothers resided in The Stillwater, Minnesota State Prison, having been apprehended after the botched hold-up of The First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota in 1876. The Younger’s signatures are all dated January 18th, 1882. At that time Bob Ford was still hiding out with Jesse and Frank James in Missouri. On April 3rd of that year, as they prepared to depart for another robbery, Bob Ford shot Jesse James in the back of the head. He immediately wired the governor, claiming the $5,000 reward on James’ head. His signature in the Kahn album is dated December 13th, 1882.
Other items from the Admiral Dot family archive include the military style dress sword from his days with P.T. Barnum, photo albums including one filled with images of The Royal Lilliputian Opera Company, and other personal momentos.
Other highlights of the auction include The Dr. William Drucker Collection of modern photography which includes Diane Arbus’ “Jewish Giant at Home with His Parents in The Bronx, NY, 1970”, estimated at $50,000/70,000. Eddie Carmel, the subject of the photograph was a patient of Dr. Drucker, a noted Manhattan endocrinologist. Other photographs from the Drucker estate include Robert Mapplethorpe’s “Clifton”, Tina Barney’s “Cousins” as well as works by Lee Friedlander and Alfred Stieglitz.
A good selection of Americana includes a fine Queen Anne lowboy, a small Federal giltwood convex mirror with candle arms, a school girl drawn map of The United States circa 1810, a copper Blackhawk horse weathervane, a Pennsylvania fractur and a group of Hudson River primitives. A rare parcel gilt Chippendale mirror with eglomise is also expected to do well.
A large selection of fine art is lead by a Moses Soyer “Autobiographical”, a 24”x25” oil on canvas with an extensive exhibition record documented verso. Other important paintings include works by Jan Lebenstein, George H. Boughton, Vu Cao Dam, John Pike, Nicholai Cikovsky and James B. Sword. Notable prints by Thomas Moran, Auguste Rodin, J.F. Millet, Marie Laurencin, Odilon Redon, Marguerite Kirmse and Alex Katz will also be sold. Additionally, a large frame signed by Frederick Harer should