Join Our Newsletter

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 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.)

News by Company & Category

Featured Auctions

(*) Indicates Auction in Progress
(*) Icons Auctions: April 15 - April 19
(*) Infinite Auction: April 1 - April 19
(*) 44 & More Auctions: April 8 - April 21
(*) Greg Morris Marketplace: April 8 - April 21
(*) Heritage Auctions: April 7 - April 21
(*) Pristine Auction: April 15 - April 21
(*) PWCC Marketplace: April 11 - April 21
(*) Queen City Cards: March 22 - April 21
(*) REA: April 5 - April 21
(*) MeiGray Auctions: April 1 - April 22
(*) Fanatics Auctions: April 12 - April 22-25
(*) Auction of Champions: April 18 - April 24
(*) Alt Liquid Auctions: April 12 - April 25
(*) Goldin: April 16 - April 25
(*) RR Auction: March 29 - April 25
(*) Rockhurst Auctions: April 15 - April 25-26
(*) Detroit City Sports: April 15 - April 27
(*) Heritage Auctions: April 5 - April 27
(*) 44 & More Auctions: April 8 - April 28
(*) Fat Apple Auctions: March 27 - April 28
(*) Heritage Auctions: April 14 - April 28
Icons Auctions: April 22 - April 28
Pristine Auction: April 22 - April 28
(*) Pristine Auction: April 1 - April 28
(*) PWCC Marketplace: April 18 - April 28
(*) Queen City Cards: March 29 - April 28
(*) Collector Connection: April 10 - April 28
(*) Classic Auctions: April 4 - April 30
Auction of Champions: April 26 - May 1
Sirius Sports Cards: April 22 - May 2
(*) Goldin: April 11 - May 4
Iconic Auctions: April 27 - May 4
MEARS Auctions: April 26 - May 4
(*) Memory Lane: April 11 - May 4
(*) 44 & More Auctions: April 8 - May 5
(*) All-Star Cards: April 14 - May 5
Heritage Auctions: April 21 - May 5
Fanatics Auctions: April 26 - May 6-9
RR Auction: April 19 - May 8
Alt Liquid Auctions: April 26 - May 9
Gotta Have Rock & Roll: April 24 - May 10
(*) 44 & More Auctions: April 8 - May 12
RR Auction: April 19 - May 16
VSA Auctions: April 29 - May 16
Heritage Auctions: April 25 - May 16-18
(*) Wheatland Auction Services: April 16-May 19
Goldin: April 19 - June 1
2024 Full Auction Schedule