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Lot # 765 (of 873)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

The Finest 1892 Thomas Edison Signed Photo In The Universe

Starting Bid - $5,000.00, Sold For - $9,200.00

Extraordinary large-format signed professional studio photographer's portrait of inventor Thomas Alva Edison measures an incredible 17.5 x 21 inches. It is flawlessly signed in black ink in the lower right-hand corner: "To Hazen S. Pingree/and my old friends/at City Hall/Very Truly Yours/Thomas A. Edison/December 18, 1892" ("10"). This presentation display photograph possesses a simply astonishing clarity and presence. It is rare to see any photograph of this majestic size and professional quality of any subject from this era. Such an expensive and ambitious example of the photographer's art could only be arranged by special commission, and was necessarily reserved only for extraordinary presentations. The presentation of this photograph was such a rare occasion. In 1892, Thomas Edison presented this breathtaking signed photographic display to Hazen S. Pingree, then mayor of Detroit (1890 -1896). Pingree later also served as the governor of Michigan (1897-1901). There is a special connection between Edison and Pingree, which gives this signed photo all the more historical significance. It was under Pingree that Detroit formed The Public Lighting Commission, which served to put streetlights under public control. It was almost certainly as a result of Pingree's successful struggle to require competition in the provision of lighting and electricity to the city of Detroit that he met Edison, and that this signed photograph was presented to him for display at City Hall in appreciation for his efforts. The sepia-toned photographic display features a 45-year-old Edison, in the prime of his incredibly productive life, and is magnificently preserved in its original, beautifully constructed custom wood frame. In the lower left of the photograph is the name and copyright of the photographer in white lettering: "J.M. White & Co. Port Huron." In the lower right is "copyright 1892," also in white lettering. Of special note, Edison and his family lived in Port Huron, Michigan (where the photographer's studio is located) for ten years, from the time young Thomas was 7 to 17 years old. Of unrivalled size and magnitude, the powerful photographic image of Edison, combined with the large, perfect signature and historically significant salutation, make this photograph, in our opinion, the single finest signed Edison piece in the collecting world. Frame dimensions: 23 x 27 inches. Near Mint condition. LOA from James Spence, Steve Grad and John Reznikoff/PSA DNA. Reserve $5,000. Estimate $10,000/$15,000. SOLD FOR $9,200.00


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