Auctions | November 15, 2013

Rare 1803 New England Map, Folk Art, Natural History Books Upcoming at Swann Galleries


New York—Swann Galleries’ auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Historical Prints, Ephemera on Thursday, December 5 offers one-of-a-kind and scarce variants in addition to desirable botanical and ornithological plates.

The sale features William Norman’s untitled chart from New York to Timber Island including Nantucket Shoals, a later variant issue of his classic five-sheet map of New England southward to New York harbor, Boston, circa 1803. In this variant, the mapping of Connecticut ends above New London, Ripton and Ridgefield—the original mapped a much larger area—and it’s been replaced by eight engraved elevations of the coastline as seen from the sea, with a group of five over New London and an additional three over Fairfield County (estimate $50,000 to $75,000).

Also very scarce is an early cloth map, Joseph W. Tuttle’s A Map of the United States, from the latest surveys, printed on sepia-colored linen, Boston, 1841 ($2,000 to $3,000).

From the American Revolution is A Plan of Boston and its Environs shewing the true Situation of His Majesty's Army, and also those of the Rebels, London, 12 March 1776, which illustrates the relationships of Dorchester and Charlestown Heights with Boston and includes particulars of the Battle of Bunker Hill and its aftermath ($10,000 to $15,000).

An impressive piece of American folk art from the first half of the 19th century is J. N. Eaton’s oil on pine board painting of a map of Palestine with an inset of Jerusalem, signed and dated Greene County, New York, 11 July 1835. The painting—identified as a primitive copy of an illustration appearing in a children’s book—was once in the collection of Zionist Ludwig Rosenberger, who formed the Library of Judaica at the University of Chicago ($7,000 to $10,000).

Among the earliest examples in the auction are a nicely hand colored copy of Abraham Ortelius’s world map, Typus Orbus Terrarum, Antwerp, 1587 ($3,500 to $5,000); a second state of Theodore de Bry’s cartographic milestone, Americae pars, Nunc Virginia dicta primum ab Anglis inventa, Frankfurt, 1590, the most accurate map drawn in the 16th century of any part of the continent of North America ($10,000 to $15,000) as well as a lovely copy of de Bry’s America sive Novus Orbis Respectu Europaeorum Inferior Globi Terrestris, Frankfurt, 1596 ($6,000 to $9,000); and Michael Mercator’s America sive India Nova, hand colored, with wide margins, Amsterdam, 1609 or 1619 ($3,500 to $5,000).

Also from the 17th century is one of the most beautiful world mappings of the era, Joan Blaeu’s double-hemispheric Nova et Accuratissima Totius Terrarum Orbis Tabula, in which California is depicted as an island, Amsterdam, 1662 ($5,000 to $7,500).

A small run of maps related to New York includes Spielmann & Brush, Certified Copies of Original Maps of Property in New York City, containing 93 colored mapsheets on banknote paper with 26 pages of letterpress notes bound in, Hoboken, 1881 ($3,000 to $4,000).

Attractively illustrated are Cornelis De Bruyn’s Jerusalem, a large panoramic view of the city from the Mount of Olives, Delft, 1698 ($1,000 to $1,500); Bougard and Serres, The Little Sea Torch: or, True Guide for Coasting Pilots . . . to Navigate along the Coasts of England, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Sicily, with 32 hand-colored plates, London, 1801 ($5,000 to $7,500); and DePue & Company, The Illustrated Atlas and History of Yolo County, Cal, with six hand-colored mapsheets and a  profusion of lithographed views and portraits of local folk, San Francisco, 1879 ($3,500 to $5,000).

Books prized for their plates include works on birds, such as John Gould’s A Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Hummingbirds . . . Supplement, with 58 hand-colored lithographed plates, plus five additional plates from the series, London, 1887 ($15,000 to $25,000) and volumes 12-15 of Alfred Grandidier and Milne Edwards, Histoire Physique, Naturelle et Politique de Madagascar, with 400 plates, Paris, 1878-81 ($5,000 to $7,500).

Among architectural books of note are a first edition of Vincenzo Scamozzi’s L'Idea dell'Architettura Universale, two parts in one volume, Venice, 1615, and Pierre Patte’s Monumens érigés en France a la Gloire de Louis XV, with 57 engraved plans, elevations, and views, many folding, Paris, 1765 ($1,500 to $2,500 each).

Books on other subjects include group of 23 issues of Gazette du Bon Ton, with 220 color plates, Paris, 1913-25 ($6,000 to $9,000); and Luigi Mayer’s Views in Egypt; Views in the Ottoman Empire, two volumes in one, with 72 hand-colored plates, London, 1801, 1803 ($5,000 to $7,500).


Among desirable individual graphics are hand-colored lithographed plates from John James Audubon’s Viviparous Quadrupeds, including Collared Peccary. Plate XXXI, 1844 ($3,500 to $5,000); and Nine-Banded Armadillo. Plate CXLVI, 1848 ($5,000 to $7,500); a group of more than 100 Persian manuscript leaves dating from the 16th to 18th centuries ($1,000 to $1,500); Karl Bodmer’s Native American portraits, Mato-Tope, A Mandan Chief, Tab. 13, London, 1839 ($3,000 to $4,000) and Abdih-Hiddisch, a Minatarre Chief, Tab. 24, 1841 ($2,500 to $3,500); a complete suite of 17 oval paper schraubmedaillen chronicling the Salzburg expulsion of Protestants in 1732, finishing with their settlement in Prussia, likely from the late 1730s  ($2,000 to $3,000); and a group of 11 pen and ink color studies of whales and whaling from 18th century Japan ($4,000 to $6,000).

The sale concludes with a selection of ephemera, which includes advertising, postcards and photographic albums related to American locomotives and the presidency of Warren G. Harding.

The auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 5, and will continue after a lunch break at 2:00 p.m.

Thee material will be on public exhibition Monday, December 2 through Wednesday, December 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

An illustrated catalogue with information on bidding by mail or fax is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to arrange in advance to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Gary Garland at (212) 254-4710, extension 17, or via email at

Live online bidding is also available via

First image: William Norman, Chart from New York to Timber Island including Nantucket Shoals, later variant, Boston, circa 1803. (estimate: $50,000 to $75,000.)

Second image: Group of 11 pen and ink color studies of whales and whaling from 18th century Japan ($4,000 to $6,000).