May 2010 | Jeremy Dibbell

Auction Report: Travel and Maps at Sotheby's

Sotheby's London's Travel, Atlases, Maps & Natural History sale went down this morning, to the tune of £1,736,750. Full results are here.

-The archive concerning 1928 meetings between Sir Gilbert Clayton and Ibn Saud, from the British consulate at Jeddah (est. £70,000-100,000) did better than expected, making £301,250.

- The sleepers of the sale were a large engraved portolan chart of the East Indies on vellum, c. 1658. It was estimated at £20,000-30,000, but made £205,250.

- And a selection of 64 photographs of Iraq and Afghanistan (1928-1931), estimated at £3,000-4,000 - it fetched a whopping £91,250!

- William Bradford's The Arctic Regions Illustrated with Photographs taken on an Art Expedition to Greenland (est. £60,000-90,000) made £79,250.

- A set of lithographic views of Russia (1821-1824) sold for £63,650.

- John Gould's Birds of Europe (1832-1837) made £58,850.

- Joannes Janssonius' Theatrum Praecipuarum Urbium (1657), Fernandez de Enciso's Suma de Geographia (1546), Sir Thomas Smith's Voiage and Entertainment in Rushia (1605), Joseph Cartwright's aquatint views of the Ionian Islands (1821), and the 1730 map of New York did not sell.

The afternoon session was the Benevento Collection: Important Maps and Atlases, in 71 lots. Full results are here; the sale brought in a total of £1,347,912. Highlights:

- The expected top seller did end up on top of the heap: a 12-volume mixed-edition set of Blaeu's Atlas Major (1662-1681), housed in a special cabinet constructed by Milan's Colombo Mobili, was expected to make £180,000-200,000; it sold for £289,250.

- The Forlani maps of North America (1565) and the world (1570) each made £121,250.

- A copy of Coronelli's Navi o vascelli, galee, galeazze, galeoni (1697), a very rare collection of ship portraits, sold for £75,650.