Collector thinks he has 1800s image of U.S. Grant

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Nevada collector believes he has found a mid-1800s photographic image of Ulysses S. Grant, the Civil War general who went on to become the nation's 18th president.

A University of Nevada, Las Vegas archivist says the daguerreotype appears to be an authentic image of Grant, who served two terms as president from 1869 to 1877.

Collector Randall Spencer said he would prefer to sell the image to a historical institution for public display, but would consider selling it to a private collector to finance his search for vanishing images of U.S. history.

"There was at that time still an abundance of Early American photography that had not been examined, especially in San Francisco, because when people went West in the mid-19th century, that's where they ended up," Spencer said. "And what really launched me into photography was discovering a picture of Mrs. Thomas Lincoln, Sarah Bush Lincoln, the stepmother who raised Abraham Lincoln."

A rare photo of a person widely admired, Spencer said, has a stronger market than an even rarer photo of some historic scoundrel. And while Grant's presidency was considered a poor one, most Americans greatly appreciate his winning the Civil War.

Spencer said he hoped to find a corporation or an individual willing to pay $2.5 million for what he called the only image of its kind.

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