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    Description

    Asa Tift [Confederate Ship Salvager]: Quarter Plate Daguerreotype. Seated portrait housed in an embossed paper case with red velvet liner and attached label reading "Asa Tift." Sharp detail and clarity with tinted cheeks.

    A native of Connecticut, Asa Forsyth Tift (1812-1889) was a marine architect who came to Key West to take advantage of the many shipwrecks in the area. He started what would become the most successful salvage operation in Florida, and was able to build the grandest home in Key West in 1851. He was close friends with Key West native and US Senator Stephen Mallory, and when Mallory became CSA Secretary of the Navy during the Civil War, Asa and his brother Nelson offered their expertise to aid the Confederate cause. Nelson designed an unusual 252-foot, 20-gun ironclad warship that was to be commissioned the CSS Mississippi while Asa financed the project and oversaw construction for no personal profit. Just weeks before she was to be launched, however, Farragut's fleet advanced past New Orleans toward the construction site, and the Mississippi was scuttled to prevent capture on April 25, 1862.

    Asa Tift's former home was purchased by Ernest Hemingway in 1931, and the writer penned many of his most famous novels in the home's parlor. It is now listed as a US National Historic Landmark designated The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. The daguerreotype offered here was found by Hemingway's widow, Mary, when cleaning out his belongings from the store room at Sloppy Joe's Bar in 1962.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2021
    27th-28th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 773

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