'Across the Continent. Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way', a well-known hand coloured litho print issued by Currier & Ives, sold for $50,000 (£39,685) at Swann Galleries.

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Sold for a far higher than predicted $50,000 (£39,685) in a December 13 sale held by Swann Galleries (25/20/12% buyer’s premium), it is the best-known work of an English-born artist, ‘Fanny’ Palmer, who had settled in the US by 1844 and went on to become a very successful print maker.

In this iconic post-civil war image of 1868 the train, belching black smoke, follows the mountain peaks west on a line that divides log cabins and a small but flourishing town from the as yet unsettled wilderness.

This example was a little browned and crackled in places, but had added association appeal. In 1963, on the occasion of his 80th birthday, it was a family birthday gift to the great Americana collector, Thomas W Streeter.