Aug 02, 2017 - Sale 2453

Sale 2453 - Lot 2

Price Realized: $ 6,750
Show Hammer Price?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
DESIGNER UNKNOWN CAPTAIN COSTENTENUS. 1876.
25 1/2x21 1/2 inches, 64 3/4x54 1/2 cm. H.A. Thomas & Co. Litho, New York.
Condition B+: tears at bottom and right edge; creases at edges and in image; skinning and abrasions in lower right margin; darkening at edges. Mounted on thick paper. Framed.
Phineas T. Barnum opened his American Museum in New York City in 1841. It was one of the most visited sites in the country for almost 25 years before it burned down in 1865. In 1876, with Barnum as a silent partner, George Bunnell opened the New American Museum on the Bowery. Captain Costentenus was tattooed over his entire body and claimed to have had them applied on him as punishment by Chinese Tartars when he was caught on a gold-seeking expedition to Burma. Upon his return to western civilization, he naturally joined the circus. As early as 1874, he was appearing at the Folies Bergère in Paris, and the following year he came to America. After a brief stint at the New American Museum, he began working for P.T. Barnum, touring with his circus on and off through the end of the decade. This poster was likely printed as a blank, as it also appears with different text on top, promoting his appearance at the Royal Aquarium in 1882, under the auspices of William Leonard Hunt (the Great Farini), another prominent sideshow impresario. rare. We have found no other copies bearing this American overprint.