Thursday, March 26, 2009

Sotheby's To Sell Upper West Side Fixer Upper



Sotheby's wants to sell you this charming little place on Manhattan's Upper West Side. This rare, Handy Man's Special is believed to be one of the earliest photographs of New York City. The half-plate Daguerreotype is estimated to be worth between 50 to $70,000. At 4.25 by 5. 5 cozy inches this baby will be selling for about $300,000 to $420,000 per square foot. Well over the $1000 per square foot asking price that is typical for this neighborhood. Does this seem unrealistically optimistic considering today's plummeting real estate values? Discuss.

Sotheby's catalogue notes are reprinted below.

"This half-plate daguerreotype of a country estate is believed to have been made in Manhattan in the 1840s and, as such, would be among the very earliest photographs of New York City extant. The daguerreotype shows in the foreground what is almost certainly the old Bloomingdale Road, referred to as 'a continuation of Broadway' in the city directories of the day. In the deep well of the road, to the left, is a horse-drawn carriage with passengers that has come to a halt for the photographer. In the middle ground is the lawn of an estate, planted with young evergreens surrounded by a fence. Beyond the rise of the lawn, in the background, is the top story of an unidentified house, with a rooftop balustrade and double chimneys on either end.

The date and location of the daguerreotype have been taken from a manuscript note, signed 'L. B.,' which was folded and placed behind the daguerreotype plate in its original leather case. Written in a neat, cursive hand, in dark ink on pale blue paper, the note reads as follows:

'This view, was taken at too great a distance, & from ground 60 or 70 feet lower than the building; rendering the lower Story of the House, & the front Portico entirely invisible. (the handsomest part of the House.) The main road, passes between the two Post & rail fences. (called, a continuation of Broadway 60 feet wide.) It requires a maganifying [sic] glass, to clearly distinguish the Evergreens, within the circular enclosure, taken the last of October, when nearly half of the leaves were off the trees.

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2 comments:

Brooklyn Hall of Fame said...
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Anonymous said...

This picture sold this weekend for $62,500! About the price of a studio apartment on the Upper West Side in 1999