Lot 3
  • 3

Attributed to Robert H. Vance

30,000 - 50,000 USD
32,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Attributed to Robert H. Vance
  • Street Scene in Benicia, Solano County, California
  • 1/4 plate daguerreotype
  • Quarter-plate
quarter-plate daguerreotype, cased, the photographer's 'R. H. Vance's Premium Daguerrean Galleries, San Francisco, Sacramento, Marysville' credit stamped on the velvet lining, 1850s


Acquired from Joseph Buberger, New Haven, 1976


Oakland Museum of California, Silver & Gold: Cased Images of the California Gold Rush, January - July 1998, and traveling thereafter to:

Washington, D. C., National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, October 1998 - March 1999

Sacramento, Crocker Art Gallery, August - October 1999


Stanley B. Burns, Mirror Mirror: The Burns Collection Daguerreotypes (New York: The Burns Archive Press, 2012), pl. 12

The Encyclopedia of Collectibles: Photographs to Quilts (Alexandria, 1979), pp. 16-7

Drew Heath Johnson and Marcia Eymann, eds., Silver & Gold: Cased Images of the California Gold Rush (University of Iowa Press for the Oakland Museum of California, 1998), pl. 116

Catalogue Note

Benicia, California, was founded on 26 December 1846 and was a major thoroughfare for eastbound vessels along the route to the goldfields.  Because of Benicia’s strategic location halfway between Sacramento and San Francisco, many early Californians thought that the town would surpass San Francisco in both population and importance.  During the Gold Rush, commerce thrived and, from 1853 to 1854, Benicia served as the second capital of the young state of California.

The present quarter-plate daguerreotype offers a fascinating view of lower First Street in Benicia, with several storefront signs clearly legible.  The Gazette Printing Office pictured at far left was likely the home of the California Gazette, which was in existence from 1851 to 1852.  Signs for neighboring sundry stores advertise C. E. Wetmore, purveyor of clothing and dry goods, and a certain Samuel C. Gray.  The Gold Rush lured Gray from Baltimore to Benicia quite early, in 1849.  By 1855, Gray was noted as an established merchant offering among other items clothing, crockery, hardware, and stoves, several of which appear to be on display on the store’s porch.