Auctions | May 17, 2017

Important Maps of the Americas & More at Swann June 7

60-Evans copy 2.jpgNew York—On Wednesday, June 7, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books, with highlights from the colonization of the Americas, as well as botanical prints and original watercolors.

The sale is led by Samuel Baker’s untrimmed and unjoined A New and Exact Map of the Island of St. Christopher in America, 1753, which shows the island, now better known as St. Kitts, divided into parishes with a wealth of early information relating to structures on the island, as well as the surrounding waters. The borders of each of the four sheets are decorated in an elaborate Baroque style; the map is valued between $20,000 and $30,000.

Among other treasures, the sale promises a trove of rare early maps of the United States. Selections include a 1750 map of Pennsylvania by Lewis Evans, whose publication in Germany helped spark emigration to the state, resulting in the still-traditional Pennsylvania Dutch population ($10,000 to $15,000). John Ogilby and Arnoldus Montanus’s America: Being the Latest, and Most Accurate Description of the New World, 1673, will be offered at $10,000 to $15,000. There is also a run of rare island maps by Aaron Arrowsmith, including a 1830 chart of Hawaii, then called "The Sandwich Islands," which, according to an inscription on the back, was purchased in 1832 by a ship’s captain who made a voyage to the area two years later ($8,000 to $12,000). Also available is a map by Henry Briggs showing California as an island, 1625 ($8,000 to $12,000), the auction debut of a hand-colored chart by Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres depicting Revolutionary War battles that occurred near Charleston, NC, 1780 ($8,000 to $12,000) and colonial maps of America by English, Dutch and French artisans including Arnold Colom, Theodore de Bry, Herman Moll, Thomas Pownall and Pierre Francois Tardieu.

The 1740 through 1770 works of Jacques-Nicolas Bellin, official hydrographer to Louis XV, were compiled into L'Hydrographie Françoise, which boasts 92 charts at the forefront of contemporary scientific authority, accuracy and artistic appeal; the two-volume set will be offered in the sale with an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000.

Additional noteworthy atlases include a set of six double-page maps, circa 1600, by Matthias Quad, and the German edition of the popular small-format atlas by Jodocus Hondius and Gerard Mercator, Atlas Minor, Das ist, 1651, still in its original binding (each $8,000 to $12,000). Mercator is further represented in the sale by the first edition of his Ptolemaic atlas, Tabulae Geographicae, 1578. The present copy includes 26 additional maps from the seventeenth century by masters including Willem Blaeu, Abraham Ortelius and Nicolas Sanson, and is expected to sell between $7,000 and $10,000.

Swann Galleries consistently offers preeminent historical material relating to the city. Unusual maps include the “Water Map,” as Egbert Viele’s Topographical Map of the City of New York, 1865, is colloquially known, and an archive of finely drawn street plans delineating the sewers of lower Manhattan, 1865-68 (each $4,000 to $6,000). Also available in The History of the Province of New York from the First Discovery to the Year MDCCXXXII, 1757, by William Smith, valued at $1,500 to $2,500. Making its auction debut is an 1891 atlas of the island of Manhattan, created for tax purposes and boasting fold-out maps of the city, of which the only other known copy is currently in the collection of the New York Historical Society ($1,500 to $2,500).

Also in the sale are two large panoramic views of Prague, most notably an early state of Prag in Böhmen, circa 1740, the engraving by Johann Friedrich Probst after Friedrich Bernhard Werner, valued between $2,000 and $3,000.

The Natural History Books section of the sale is led by a rare complete run of The Naturalist’s Miscellany, 1789-1813, with engravings by Frederick Nodder and his son Richard, and text in English and Latin by George Shaw; the 24-volume set offers some of the earliest descriptions of several Australian species, including the Nonpareil Parrot and the Duck-Billed Platypus ($10,000 to $15,000). Also available are the hand-colored aquatint and engraving for the elephant folio plates of John James Audubon’s Herring Gull CCXCI, 1836, and Wood Ibiss CCVI, 1834 ($7,000 to $10,000 and $5,000 to $7,500, respectively).

There is a delightful selection of nineteenth-century watercolor portfolios: a set of 55 depictions of the life and deeds of Napoleon and 25 ink drawings by Robert Cruikshank, intended to serve as models for his “juvenile dramas,” 1830s, are each expected to bring between $8,000 and $12,000.

The auction will be held Wednesday, June 7, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Friday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, June 3, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, June 5, through Tuesday, June 6, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Wednesday, June 7 from 10 a.m. to noon.

An illustrated auction catalogue is available for $35 at

For further information and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Caleb Kiffer at 212-254-4710, extension 17, or via e-mail at

Image: Lot 60 Lewis Evans, Speciel Land Charte von Pensilvanien, Neu Jersey, Neu York, Frankfurt, 1750. Estimate $10,000 to $15,000. Complete Auction Catalogue