In the News

Special Exhibitions at AIPAD, April 5-8

New York - Three special exhibitions will be on view at The Photography Show,... read more

James D. Julia's February Fine Art, Asian & Antiques Auction Produces Over $3.3 Million

Fairfield, ME — James D. Julia’s mid-winter auction launched the 2018 auction season in... read more

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers Announces Newest Atlanta Location to Open

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, one of the nation's leading auction houses, will open its newest... read more

Opening March 4: First Major International Exhibition of Sally Mann's Work of the South

Washington, DC—For more than 40 years, Sally Mann (b. 1951) has made experimental, elegiac,... read more

The Eric Carle Museum Presents "Paddington Comes to America"

Amherst, MA—Sixty years ago, the story of a bear from Darkest Peru found a... read more

New, Expanded Paperback Edition of "Rare Books Uncovered" to be Published

Few collectors are as passionate or as dogged in the pursuit of their quarry... read more

Exhibit Exploring Franciscan Imagery Opens at the National Gallery of Art on Feb. 25

Washington, DC—One of the most innovative Italian books of the early baroque period, the... read more

Quinn's Honors Black History Month with Feb. 22 Auction of African American Art and Memorabilia

Falls Church, VA - On Thursday, Feb. 22, Quinn’s Auction Galleries will pay tribute... read more

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2015 Bookseller Resource Guide

Lost Everything? Have a Martini.

Nutty Nova Scotia

18th-Century Halifax Map, Old World Auctions Sedona, $863.

From time to time, decorative embellishments on old maps can get a bit out of hand, and in this 18th-century plan of the town of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the cartographic work has been almost swamped by the addition of coats of arms, giant Lepidoptera, and a very odd looking porcupine!

Halifax itself is shown in a grid plan with its surrounding fortifications and immediate vicinity, including Bedford “formerly call'd Torrington” Bay and Cornwallis Island. The mapping work has been squeezed to allow the addition of a representation of the Ensign of Nova Scotia; seven coats-of-arms of members of the Pinkington, Pickering, Longueville, Musgrave, Meredith, Slingsby, and Gascoigne families; and assorted wildlife.

Issued in a July 1750 issue of The Gentlemen's Magazine, this Plan of the Harbour and Town of Chebucto and Town of Halifax bears no publisher or engraver’s name. However, David Jolly, in his Maps in British Periodicals… before 1800, says the creator is likely to have been that prolific map maker and publisher Thomas Jefferys, because the butterfly collection featured in the accompanying article is advertised as being on display at Jefferys' premises in Charing Cross, London.

Fine, except for a short marginal tear just into cartouche and some expert repair work to the back, it sold at $863 in an online sale that ended February 25, held by specialist map saleroom, Old World Auctions of Sedona, Arizona.

Detective Gets Makeover

Nancy Drew Illustrations, Swanns New York ($11,400).

Russell H. Tandy, who illustrated 26 of the Nancy Drew stories in the years 1930-49, was also a fashion illustrator and thus well equipped to create an appealing image of the heroine for readers. In the first four titles, Nancy is shown as a prim and proper young woman in skirts, pumps and scarf or coat. But in the original artwork for the dust jacket of the fifth Nancy Drew mystery, The Secret at Shadow Ranch of 1931, Tandy has dressed her in sporty rising clothes. Executed in watercolor, ink and gouache, and signed lower right, this Tandy artwork was bid to $11,400 in a March 12 Swanns of New York sale.

The author’s name is given as Carolyn Keene, but as many (most?) U.S. readers know, this too, was a fiction. Nancy was the creation of Edward Stratemeyer, whose practice of employing ghost writers became a key part of the Stratemeyer syndicate's success. The first 20 or so Nancy books were actually written by Mildred Benson.

As a man and an Englishman—a race for whom Nancy Drew is largely mysterious—I only vaguely knew about this series. However, in a fearless venture into the online Nancy Drew world, I learn that ghostwriter Mildred Benson disliked the “namby-pamby” style of most books for girls. Nancy’s spirit of independence came straight from Benson and helped spark her popularity. Harriet Adams, who with her sister took over the business after her father’s death, preferred a more traditional finishing-girl style, and as the series went on Nancy underwent changes at the direction of Adams, who also revised the earlier stories.

Derek HayesIan McKay’s weekly column in Antiques Trade Gazette has been running for more than 30 years.