Armenian Atlas Reaches $37,500 at Swann Galleries
New York—On June 7, Swann Galleries’ held its biannual auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books. Approximately two thirds of the lots offered fell into the category of maps and atlases, with strong results in both subheadings. Of the 265 lots, 86% percent found buyers, exceeding the low estimate for the section by more than $100,000.
The first world atlas in the Armenian language topped the sale, reaching more than five times its $6,000 high estimate to sell for $37,500*, a record for the work. Hovhannes Amira Dadian created the atlas in the Armenian monastery on the Venetian island of San Lazzaro in 1849 in an effort to bring Western knowledge to his home country. The atlas boasts ten hand-colored double-page maps, including one of the solar system, all of which were printed in Paris and based primarily on contemporary French models.
Another highlight was the Speciel Land Charte von Pensilvanien, Neu Jersey, Neu York, a 1750 map by Lewis Evans published in Frankfurt, whose alluring designations such as “The Endless Mountains” may have been responsible for the subsequent German emigration to the state. The map sold for $27,500, far exceeding its high estimate of $15,000. The only other known copy is in the collection of the Library of Congress.
Multiple bidders on a manuscript logbook that recounts two voyages from England to the Mediterranean, replete with records and delightful watercolors by Captain William Hodgson, sent the price flying past the high estimate of $5,000 to a price realized of $20,800. Specialist Caleb Kiffer notes, “The log book is one of those unusual items that rarely comes to market and that gets people really excited.”
Other items he noted included a mysterious early twentieth-century chalkboard globe that tripled its modest high estimate to sell for $1,625, and a rare map detailing the proceedings of the Revolutionary War near Charleston, SC ($21,250).
Mr. Kiffer added, “I was glad to see a mix of collectors, dealers and institutions actively bidding.”
The next sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books at Swann Galleries will be on December 5, 2017. For more information or consign quality materials, contact Caleb Kiffer at email@example.com.