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Assistance Requested: Carnegie Library Theft

In an effort to aid in the recovery of materials missing as a result... read more

Groundbreaking Swedish Underground Exhibition at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair, Sept. 8-9

It’s the largest known collection of artwork and photography produced by the leading Swedish... read more

Early Details on the 42nd Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair, Nov. 16-18

Boston - The annual fall gathering for booklovers, the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair... read more

Christie's Presents the Diann G. and Thomas A. Mann Collection of Photographic Masterworks

New York - Christie's announces the sale of An American Journey: The Diann G... read more

Dayton Literary Peace Prize Announces 2018 Finalists

Dayton, Ohio - Recognizing the power of literature to promote peace and reconciliation, the... read more

Poster Auctions International, Inc. Unveils New Poster Price Guide

New York - Poster Auctions International, Inc., has unveiled its all-new Poster Price Guide,... read more

Celebrating Frankenstein's 200th Anniversary at the Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair

“It’s alive, It’s alive! cried the crazed scientist, Dr. Frankenstein, looking up from his... read more

Frazetta's "Escape on Venus" Leads Heritage Auctions' Comics & Comic Art Auction

Dallas, TX - Frenetic bidding drove the final price for Frank Frazetta’s Escape on... read more

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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.