One of the last photographs taken of women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony is going up for auction in New York along with hundreds of other items found in an attic photography studio that had been abandoned for decades.
The photo was taken by Geneva, New York, photographer James “J.E.” Hale in November 1905, a few months before Anthony died on March 13, 1906, according to the auction listing. Hale gave the copyright to the photo to the Susan B. Anthony Memorial Association, which selected it as her official photograph.
The framed 20-inch by 16-inch photograph is one of four known to exist, including one in the US Library of Congress, the listing said.
The opening bid is set at $5,000.
Attorney David J. Whitcomb bought the Geneva building that once housed Hale’s studio to expand his law office in December and discovered the photograph in the hidden studio.
The studio area had been sealed off by a drop ceiling that had been installed decades earlier when the building’s third floor was turned into an apartment, Whitcomb told CNN in February.
When he first looked in the space, the light from his mobile phone reflected off of stacks of ornate gold picture frames.
These frames are gorgeous, they’re the turn-of-the-century, they’re gold, gilded, and they shone really bright and I was like ‘Oh my God,'” he said in February. “I lowered myself and said ‘I think we just found the ‘Goonies’ treasure.'”
He also found pieces of the original glass negative used to print Anthony’s portrait.
Whitcomb worked with One Source Auctions to go through the collection and get the items ready for sale.
The Susan B. Anthony portrait is one of 350 lots listed for sale in the auction, which is scheduled for September 18. It includes photographs of prominent women’s suffrage activists Elizabeth “Libby” Smith Miller and Anne Fitzhugh Miller, as well as other rare photos of Anthony.
The sale includes vintage photography equipment and boxes and containers that once held glass plates and other supplies that were found in the studio.
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