Heritage Auctions October 26, 2019 Historical Manuscripts Auction In Progress

A collection from the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection is on the block October 26, 2019 in Heritage Auctions’ current Historical Manuscript Auction.  Bid, view and register for the auction at historical.ha.com. Single-Owner, Civil War Rarities Collection Features Finest Period Photographs Ever Offered at One Time. Carefully amassed over 40 years, Heritage Auctions presents the Bret J. Formichi Collection

A signed carte de visite from legendary American frontiersman Kit Carson is just one of dozens scarcely seen period photographs highlighting the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection, offered Oct. 23 by Heritage Auctions. The Formichi collection features fine examples of cartes de visite, many signed, as well as letters and documents from strong as well as little known personalities behind the bloody conflict.

“Of the nearly 500 lots in the auction, 179 make up Bret Formichi’s extraordinary collection that he curated over a period of four decades,” Heritage Auctions Historical Manuscripts Director Sandra Palomino said. “His collection features an exceptional array of images, manuscripts and printed ephemera, including several significant cartes de visite. The collection includes rare items representing Black Americana, women in the Civil War, three John Wilkes Booth autographs and a collection of manuscripts and images related to Fort Sumter.”

Among the top lots from the Formichi collection are:

Christopher “Kit” Carson Carte de Visite Signed “Kit Carson” (estimate: $40,000+) features a three-quarters-seated portrait of Carson, dressed in his brigadier general uniform with his left arm resting on a table. That he signed his nickname on the mount below the albumen is unusual and significant, as the majority of Carson autographs are signed “C. Carson.” The use of his nickname, “Kit,” usually was reserved for items signed to Carson’s close friends, so to see it included on this carte de visite adds to the rarity. The lot is offered along with a signed letter of introduction from George H. Carson, the nephew of Kit Carson, and a copy of De Witt C. Peters’ The Life and Adventures of Kit Carson, The Nestor of the Rocky Mountains From Facts Narrated by Himself, which was published in New York by W.R.C. Clark & Meeker in 1858.

John Wilkes Booth-Signed Copy of Rifles and Rifle Practice, by C.M. Wilcox (estimate: $30,000+) is a 276-page first edition with five fold-out diagrams, as well as numerous illustrations and charts. Signed by Booth on the inside front cover, “John Wilkes Booth, May 10th 1861,” it was inscribed less than a month after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, which could suggest that Booth bought the book as a direct result of the beginning of the Civil War. Booth did not fight in the war, but was a loyal devotee of the Confederate cause and hoped to find a way to assist the Confederate cause. Booth made no secret of his displeasure over the South losing the Civil War and Lincoln’s plan to free slaves, a stance that played out in his assassination of the 16th president.

George A. Custer Carte de Visite Signed (estimate: $12,000+) features a vignette portrait of the flamboyant general, wearing the wide-brimmed hat for which he is known. This card, which is signed “Yours truly G A Custer,” is captioned as being “Entered according to Act of Congress by M.B. Brady & Co. in the year 1865 in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of Columbia.” The image, labeled K-77V, was taken sometime around March 23, 1865, according to Custer in Photographs, before he reverted to the rank of captain.

Millard Fillmore Signed Carte de Visite (estimate: $10,000+) includes an E. Anthony imprint on verso, a mark that declares the image was published from a photographic negative from Brady’s National Portrait Gallery. The 13th president of the United States is shown in a stand-up portrait, his hand resting on the back of a chair. Signed at the lower margin, “Millard Fillmore March 6, 1862” and on verso in ink, “W F Pollard 1862/B_5 No. 234.” Fillmore is notable for trying to reach a compromise on slavery, an effort that alienated him from both sides of the debate, and for a later effort to run for president on the “Know-Nothing Party” ticket.

[Hubbard Pryor.] Samuel Pryor: Pair of Cartes de Visite of a Black Union Soldier (estimate: $4,000+) both have A.S. Morse imprints on verso. The images show Pryor before and after his enlistment in Co. H of the 44th United States Colored Troops. On verso of the first image, which shows Pryor wearing rags and a slouch hat, is Negative No. 3801. On verso of the second image, which shows dressed in a Union uniform and standing at attention with a musket in his right hand, is Negative No. 3800. The images were taken by Department of the Cumberland photographer A.S. Morse, and records date the photos to 1864. National Parks Service records suggest the man in the pictures is Hubbard Pryor, although the inscription suggests he used a different name. Pryor enlisted in the Union’s black infantry regiment after escaping from his master in Tennessee. These pictures were sent to the war department in December 1864 as part of a report on the black regiment. The 44th USCT troops fought at the Battle of Dalton, where Pryor was captured by Confederates, an ordeal he survived.

Confederate Richard C. Morgan Signed Carte de Visite (estimate: $3,000+) includes a John L. Gihon’s Philadelphia imprint on verso. A bust portrait of Morgan dressed in his uniform, Morgan inscribed on verso “Yr affect. Cousin R. C. Morgan Col C.S.A. Morgan’s Div Cavy Ft Delaware May 16, 64.” Col. Morgan was the younger brother of Gen. John H. Morgan and served on the staffs of Gen. John Breckenridge and Gen. A.P. Hill. After he helped to lead Confederate forces into Ohio in July 1863, he and about 750 others were captured by the Union, which kept him imprisoned until August 1864; this photo was taken while he was held as a prisoner of war at Fort Delaware.


  • Christopher ‘Kit’ Carson Carte de Visite Signed ‘Kit Carson’
  • Thomas Jefferson Foreign Service Act Signed ‘Th: Jefferson’ as Secretary of State
  • John Wilkes Booth Signed Copy of Rifles and Rifle Practice, by C.M. Wilcox
  • J. Eppinger & F.C. Baker. Map of Texas Compiled from Surveys Recorded in the General Land Office. 1852
  • George Washington Check Signed
  • Benjamin Franklin Letter Signed ‘B Franklin’
  • John Adams Autograph Letter Signed to Elbridge Gerry Signed ‘John Adams’
  • Al Capone Loan Signed Twice ‘Alphonse Capone’
  • Millard Fillmore Signed Carte de Visite


1 – Signature® Floor Session (Live Floor, Live Phone, Mail, Fax, Internet, and Heritage Live):
(Lots 47001-47112) – 11:00 AM Central Time, Saturday, October 26, 2019.
(Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 24 hours before the live session begins and continues through the session.)

2 – Signature® Floor Session (Live Floor, Live Phone, Mail, Fax, Internet, and Heritage Live):
(Lots 47113-47333) – 1:00 PM Central Time, Saturday, October 26, 2019.
(Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 24 hours before the live session begins and continues through the session.)

3 – Signature® Internet Session – No Floor or Phone Bidding (Mail, Fax, Internet, and Heritage Live):
(Lots 47334-47493) – 4:00 PM Central Time, Saturday, October 26, 2019.
(Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 24 hours before the live session begins and continues through the session.)

Daily/Weekly Auctions

(*) Indicates Auction in Progress
(*) JG Autographs: May 26 - June 1
(*) Steve Novella: May 26 - June 1
(*) Kevin Savage Cards: May 21 - June 2-3
(*) NBA Auctions: May 28 - June 3
(*) Sirius Sports Cards: May 24 - June 3
(*) Steve Novella: May 28 - June 3
(*) Lelands: May 9 - June 4
(*) Detroit City Sports: May 29 - June 5
(*) Goldin Auctions: May 28 - June 5
(*) MEARS Auctions: May 28 - June 5
(*) CollectibleXChange: April 28 - June 6
(*) The Collector Connection: May 19 - June 6
(*) Sirius Coins: May 15 - June 6
(*) Auction of Champions: May 26 - June 7
(*) Kevin Savage Cards: May 27 - June 7
(*) Hindman Auctions: May 17 - June 8
JG Autographs: June 2 - June 8
(*) Clean Sweep Auctions: May 12 - June 9
Kevin Savage Cards: June 1 - June 9-10
(*) MeiGray Auctions: May 24 - June 9-10
NBA Auctions: June 4 - June 10
(*) Iconic Auctions: June 3 - June 12
(*) Classic Auctions: May 24 - June 15
JG Autographs: June 9 - June 15
(*) RR Auction: May 25 - June 16
Kevin Savage Cards: June 4 - June 16-17
(*) Heritage Auctions: May 24 - June 17
NBA Auctions: June 11 - June 17
Sirius Sports Cards: June 7 - June 17
REA: June 10 - June 20
Auction of Champions: June 9 - June 21
Kevin Savage Cards: June 10 - June 21
JG Autographs: June 16 - June 22
Kevin Savage Cards: June 14 - June 23-24
NBA Auctions: June 18 - June 24
RR Auction: June 17 - June 24
Sterling Sports Auctions: June 10 - June 24
Grey Flannel Auctions: June 4 - June 26
Heritage Auctions: June 4 - June 26
Iconic Auctions: June 19 - June 26
Goldin Auctions: June 7 - June 26-27
Pristine Auction: June 1 - June 27
Lelands: June 13 - June 27
Kevin Savage Cards: June 18 - June 28
JG Autographs: June 23 - June 29
Kevin Savage Cards: June 22 - June 30
NBA Auctions: June 25 - July 1
Sirius Sports Cards: June 21 - July 1
MEARS Auctions: June 29 - July 3
Auction of Champions: June 23 - July 5
SCP Auctions: June 23 - July 9
Memory Lane Inc: June 21 - July 10
2021 Full Auction Schedule