Eldred's - Auctioneers, Appraisers

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Item Details

Lot #1400
Sold For$90,000.00(hammer price)
 $106,200.00(price including buyer's premium)
Last UpdatedNovember 17, 2012


Depicting four men standing in front of crossed flags. The men are dressed in matching uniforms and visored hats with star emblems. Image partly hand-colored by the photographer and also shows later coloring of the sashes by a less professional hand. The seal appears to have been broken many years ago, but the image is in good overall condition. Contained within its original embossed leather case with broken hinge. Descended in the family of Freeman Cobb of Brewster, Massachusetts, it is probable one of the men in the photo is Cobb.

Freeman Cobb, born into a seafaring family in Brewster in 1830, established the Cobb & Co. stagecoach company in 1853 in Melbourne, Australia, which operated the routes to and from the gold fields of Victoria. Although he sold his company and left Australia after just three years, he had become a legendary businessman and his name was synonymous in Australia for the word coach. He returned to Brewster, married, fathered two children, and served as the state senator for Barnstable County in 1864-65. He later moved to South Africa, helping to form Cobb & Co. Ltd., a coach service for the diamond fields. He died in South Africa in 1878 and his family returned to Brewster shortly thereafter.

Before moving to Australia, Cobb worked for Adams & Co., a famous Boston express company that grew out of the Gold Rush and carried passengers to California and South America, from 1849 to 1853. It is possible the uniforms worn by the men in this image are tied to Adams & Co., as we have found online an 1864 photo of the Adams Express office depicting a man in a very similar uniform and with an emblem on his hat very similar to the ones in this image.

Please note: The successful bidder for this item must send payment in the form of a wire transfer. Shipping for this item is solely the buyer's responsibility. Eldred's will not ship this item.


The photograph of this dag was shot in studio light. It is representational of the piece when held at just the right angle. There is a fair amount of oxidation, staining and and losses around the edges of the image though the central area is in good shape with very little loss and minor scratches. Case dims: 9 1/8 x 7 1/8". Inside dims: 8 1" x 6 ". 28 Star flag."

The description of the item above may not be the final version used in the catalog. The descriptions are as yet unedited and may contain mistakes. The description, estimates and photos could all be wrong. In rare cases they may not end up in this sale. Once the items have received their lot number the descriptions will have been changed if needed.

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