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Lot # 1236 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1906 San Francisco Earthquake Panoramic Photo

Starting Bid - $500.00, Sold For - $2,204.00

Sweeping panoramic photograph, measuring an extraordinary 56 x 12 inches, captures the city of San Francisco engulfed in flames following the "great earthquake" of 1906. The photo, copyrighted in 1906 by R.J. Waters & Co., was taken less than five hours after the earthquake hit the city and dramatically pictures the devastation occurring at the time. The caption along the base reads "The Burning City-San Francisco-10 a.m.-April 18-1906." Although the 1906 San Francisco earthquake was one of the greatest natural disasters of modern times, most of the deaths and resultant damage to the city were caused by the many large fires that soon broke out. The city burned for nearly five days until the flames were finally extinguished. The death toll at the time was reported to be approximately 700; however, historians now believe that figure to be closer to 3,000. Property damage was estimated to be $500,000,000 (in 1906 dollars). The photo has flawless clarity and incredible detail throughout, with large throngs of people clearly discernible as they move through the streets. The billowing smoke and extraordinarily clear architectural detail make this an extremely powerful image, as well as an important historical record of one of the early twentieth century's defining moments. To the far left a group of gentleman are seen standing on a rooftop, stoically watching the flames engulf the city. The tall building seen just to the right of center is the Call building, which survived the fire. It was modernized in the 1930s and is today known as Central Towers. The white border areas display a number of minor condition flaws, including small tears, light toning, and a few tiny stains. The central image area is free of all major defects and projects an Excellent to Mint appearance. Reserve $500. Estimate $1,000/$1,500. SOLD FOR $2,204.00


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