A California auction house today
will sell a Dayton, Ohio, man's collection of rare
Abraham Lincoln photographs, documents and other items
valued together at about $1 million.
The collection belonged to Lloyd Ostendorf, who died
in 2000 at the age of 79. Ostendorf was a leading
authority on Lincoln images and photographs.
"He began collecting when he was about 13 and
continued until his late 70s," Catherine Williamson,
director of books and manuscripts for the auctioneer,
Bonhams & Butterfields of Los Angeles, said Monday.
The collection being sold today was not Ostendorf's
first, Williamson added. An earlier collection of
photographs is housed at the Lincoln Life Museum in Fort
"Earlier in life, he put together a major collection
and sold it to the museum for $1 million. He took that
$1 million and began collecting more materials. That's a
true collector," Williamson said.
Ninety percent of the items being auctioned are
photographs, including of Lincoln himself, his wife and
children, his birthplace, his home in Springfield, his
funeral, his contemporaries and even his horse.
Among the other items are a piece of lapel from the
jacket Lincoln wore when he was assassinated, locks of
his hair and a casting from a mold of his face made by
sculptor Clayton Mills in 1865 before the assassination.
Among the photos to be sold is a picture of Lincoln
taken around 1858 that he signed. Its value is estimated
at $70,000 to $90,000. About 400 to 500 photographs will
be up for bid. There will be just over 200 lots, with
multiple items in each lot.
Lincoln sat twice while a sculptor made a mold of his
face - once in 1860 during the presidential campaign and
then again in 1865. It was fairly common for public
figures to do this, Williamson said. The molds were used
to make Lincoln masks and busts.
The Ostendorf collection has been highly anticipated,
Williamson said, noting that it has taken awhile to come
to market, which is typical. Ostendorf's surviving
family members are not collectors and did not want to
spend money to maintain the collection, she said.
"This is a pretty famous collection," she said.
"Everybody who collects 19th-century photography knows
who Lloyd Ostendorf was. Most who collect Lincoln
memorabilia know who he was. In our world, it was a
Richard Norton Smith, director of the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, said the
library is aware of today's auction and hopes to be able
to bid on items such as these in the future, when
funding becomes available through a planned endowment.
The library's foundation hopes to raise $50 million
Ostendorf began collecting at the age of 13 after
trying to find images on which to base a portrait of the
"He went to the library and did research and found
photographs, and it kind of steamrolled," Williamson
Ostendorf made a living selling portraits of Lincoln
and worked as a graphic illustrator and portraitist.
"That's pretty common with most collectors,"
Williamson said. "Their vocation and avocation kind of
Chris Wetterich can be reached at 788-1523 or
Want more info?
What: The Lloyd Ostendorf
Collection of Lincolniana
Where: Los Angeles and San
TIME: 1 p.m. PST
telephone: (415) 861-7500