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Lot 568: Fredrick Coombs as Benjamin Franklin.
29 October 2016
Yonkers, NY, USALive Auction
Description: Fredrick Coombs as Benjamin Franklin. Dressed as Franklin, he stands in front of the statue of Franklin that is in front of the Boston Latin School, that Franklin attended. Coombs was a daguerreotypist, photographer, phrenologist. Originally from NYC, he became a well-known eccentric figure in San Francisco along with his rival "Emperor" Norton. He came to believe he was George Washington, and dressed as Washington. He also fantasized about being an irresistible ladies' man. He eventually returned to New York and traveled around the East. I urge to you read the Google entry. The mount has a title "Grand Patriotic Tableau; or, the Spirit of 1776" and is copyright 1869. The verso contains the most bizarre and fascinating content I've every encountered on a cabinet card. It has its own title--"The 'Spirit of Love,' or 1776 in Limbo, or in the damp cellar!" It includes a lithograph by Coombs as Franklin with rats on the floor around him, and texts dealing with an amorous affair. Coombs' work is extremely rare.
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