Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Quackenbush History Up For Sale

A search of online sales at auction houses and sales sites like Amazon and bid to buy sites have turned up the following items related to Quackenbush for sale.

Cowan's Auctions 

Lot 233 Rear Admiral Stephen Platt Quackenbush Archive, 2006, Fall Americana, Nov. 16 & 17 lot of 30, including includes an outstanding 3/4-length seated quarter plate daguerreotype image of Mexican War era Midshipman S.P. Quackenbush, mounted in original leather covered wood cast, PLUS 3 autographed Presidential Military Appointments all on vellum, appointing S.P. Quackenbush to Captain, signed by U.S. Grant, 1871, PLUS appoint to rank of Commodore signed by R.B. Hayes, 1880, PLUS appointment to rank of Rear-Admiral, signed by Chester A. Arthur, 1884, all 15.75" x 19.5", PLUS a family cdv album with three military views, Quackenbush’s 1880s blue undress cap with hat insignia and single shoulder strap with silver star and two anchors denoting Commodore, an original unsigned pencil drawing with caption depicting the destruction of Quackenbush’s ship USS Patapsco in Charleston Harbor on January 15, 1865, four sequential Navy Department documents appointing Quackenbush to the rank of Commander (1866), Captain (1871), Commodore (1880), and Rear Admiral (1884), a 1884 biographical sketch with photograph from Quackenbush’s MOLLUS (Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States) installation in the District of Columbia Commandery (Insignia No. 3137), and a three page typed summary of Quackenbush’s “record of service” compiled by the navy “Chief of Bureau” shortly after the admiral’s death in 1890. The cdv album contains at least one pencil identified view of “Lt. Commander S.P. Quackenbush” in Civil War uniform with two military shots of another unidentified navy lieutenant commander that resembles Quackenbush, presumably his brother John N. Quackenbush, among 37 civilian portraits of family members. This lot also includes 16 other cased images from the Quackenbush family6, including 9 daguerreotypes, 3 ambrotypes and 3 tintypes.

Stephen Platt Quackenbush was the proverbial “old salt” having joined the navy as acting midshipman in February 1840. The next twenty years were spent in routine service aboard a succession of mail packets and steam frigates interspersed with coast survey duties, extended leave, and “waiting orders.” The outbreak of Civil War found Lieutenant Quackenbush aboard the ill-fated USS Congress but the Navy’s rapid expansion soon put even junior officers into command billets. During the early part of the war Quackenbush commanded the Delaware, Unadilla, and Pequot in wide ranging littoral operations supporting McClellan’s army on the Peninsula to combat at Elizabeth City, New Berne, and Winton, North Carolina.

While in command of the Pequot on the James River Quackenbush was severely wounded at Malvern Hill loosing his right leg. Aboard the steam gunboat Unadilla in 1863 his ship captured the blockade runner Princess Royal containing Confederate naval stores including English built machinery destined for a rebel ironclad then under construction.

Now a lieutenant commander, Quackenbush took command of the ironclad Patapsco in 1864 and while reconnoitering Charleston harbor for obstructions hit a Confederate torpedo which sank the warship “in twenty seconds.” The anonymous drawing kept by Quackenbush shows the bow section of Patapsco engulfed in the explosion that sank her. Quackenbush then commanded the Mingo until the end of the war.

With the cessation of hostilities the mighty US Navy was quickly sold-off and decommissioned beginning in 1865 and the return of mundane peacetime duties ushered in a sad era of technological decline and backward thinking. The aging Quackenbush held a series of minor sea-going commands spending considerably more time in obligatory shore billets on “equipment duty” and as “inspector of supplies.”

Promoted to Commodore in 1880, Quackenbush took charge of the Pensacola Navy Yard and was promoted to Rear Admiral in July 1884 after nearly 44 years of continuous service. He was placed on the retired list in January 1885 and died in Washington, D.C. in February 1890.

The Quackenbush archive spanning five decades of war and peace is a fine snapshot of a dedicated career afloat.


The dag of S.P. Quackenbush has a few small brown spot and slight solar ring, still VG, most of the other dags have some problems, such as spots and solar rings, and range from G to VG, ambros are all VG-; most of the components of the archive are uniformly VG with the important pencil sketch about Good due to tears and loss of upper right corner.

Sold: $6,325.00
Price includes
Buyer's Premium

Regency Superior 


This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on: 8/11/2013

Legal-sized 'Operation Highjump' cover signed 'RE Byrd' as Rear Admiral, USN, 'R.H. Cruzen' as Rear Admiral, USN, R.S. Quackenbush, Jr. as Captain, USN Chief of Staff CTF 68 and 'T.R. Vogeley' as Commander, USN. Cover created for Antarctic Expedition, 1946-47, Task Force 68, postmarked 'U.S.S. Mount Olympus,' Feb 3, 1947, unaddressed. Polar explorer and Rear Adm RICHARD E. BYRD (1888-1957) was Officer in Charge, Rear Adm RICHARD H. CRUZEN was Commander of Task Force 68. The name 'Operation Highjump,' was given the United States Navy Antarctic Developments Project (1946-47), the largest Antarctic expedition ever organized. It consisted of some 13 ships and 4,700 men divided into 5 groups. The 'U.S.S. Olympus,' flagship of the operation, was responsible for communications. Very fine. From long-buried Ezra D. Cole stock.

Condition: C

Final Bid: $270.00

Raynors' Historical Collectible Auctions

Lot #25: Revolutionary War Naval Document

Partially printed and filled out in hand, “Certificate of Clearance, Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” 8” x 7-3/4,” certifies “That Ephraim Lombard Master of the Brigg Expedition ... given bond of twenty thousand pounds ... shall not be carried to or landed at any port under the dominion of the King of Great Britain ...registered at Boston the twenty third day of December, 1780...” the document is signed by Nat Barby, Naval Officer. The crew is listed as Eph Lombart and Benjamin Bartlett. Document split has been repaired from the back.

Final prices include buyers premium.:$237.00



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