Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 43

Manuscript and Collectibles Auction

Western Americana
Lot Photo Description Realized
Lot 377
Sitting Bull, Geronimo, and Chief Rain-in-the-Face. Three signed photographs, each with a name plaque, contained in a single, modern presentation frame, 24" x 28¼". Very fine; two photos have slipped slightly. Sitting Bull (1834-1890). Hunkpapa Lakpta Sioux Chief. Rare cabinet photograph signed in ink on the reverse with a large signature going completely across the card. With the imprint of "Geo. W. Scott, Fort Yates, Dakota." Having learned to write his name late in life, Sitting Bull would spend at least a minute laboriously "drawing" it. This was mostly done during a four-month stint with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1885, for which he was paid $50 per week and whatever he could make selling autographs.

Sitting Bull had been fighting American soldiers since June of 1863 during a campaign against all Indians in retaliation for the Minnesota massacre. Known for his predictions, he had a famous vision in 1876 of soldiers falling from the sky like grasshoppers. This induced many other Indians, including Crazy Horse and Rain-in-the-Face to attack General Terry at the battle of Rosebud. The Indians, numbering about 500, moved their camp to the Valley of the Little Big Horn, where 3,000 other Indians from various tribes joined them. In one of the great militry fiascos of all time, General George Armstrong Custer, who had finished last in his class at West Point but was an outstanding cavalry leader during the Civil War, split his regiment into three sections, attacking the Indian emcampment with fewer than 300 men. The rest, as they say, is history.

Geronimo (1829-1909). Chiracahua Apache. Rare photograph signed in pencil above the 5¼" x 3¼" image. Titled "Geronimo and Wife" with "Canady's Photo" imprint. This was probably signed at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. Geronimo would turn the object on which he was writing so that he could sign his name vertically. When he was finished, he would return the paper to a normal position and his name would appear horizontal. He was paid $1 for signatures and $3 for photographs. Geronimo gained reknown for his daring exploits and numerous escapes from capture, often against overwhelming odds. His band was one of the last groups of Indian warriors who refused to acknowledge the United States Government. On September 4, 1886, Geronimo surrendered to the United States Army at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona.

Rain-in-the-Face. (1835-1905) Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux Chief. Excessively rare cabinet photograph signed on the reverse, one of fewer than 25 known examples. With the imprint "Geo. E. Spencer, U.S. Army Photo, 7420 Ellis Ave. Chicago." On the top of the card is printed, "Sitting Bull's Log Cabin now on Exhibition at World's Fair, Chicago, 1893, owned by Sitting Bull Log Cabin Co., Mandan, North Dakota." This was probably signed by Rain-in-the-Face sometime later at the Standing Rock reserve in North Dakota. Below his pencil signature is an inscription, also in pencil--most likely by an Indian agent: "Written by himself / WGL." Rain-in-the-Face was most famous for his participation in the Custer massacre at Little Big Horn. For many years it was thought that he had killed General Custer, but in an interview with Charles A. Eastman, a few months before he died in 1905, the old Chief refuted the story: "It is generally said that a young man with nothing but a war staff in his hand broke through the column and knocked down the leader very early in the fight. We supposed him to be the leader because he stood up in full view, swinging his big knife [sword] over his head, and talking loud. Someone unknown afterwards shot the chief, and he was probably killed also; for if not, he would have told of the deed, and called others to witness it. So it is that no one knows who killed the Long-Haired Chief [General Custer]."

This may well be the only opportunity to obtain all three of these great American Indian signed photographs at one time. A wonderful display item.
Estimated Value $20,000 - 25,000.
Ex Dick Newell and Bruce Gimelson.

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