Auctions | July 19, 2013

Final Commissioner’s Map of NYC on Satin Brings Record Price at Swann Galleries


New York—The star item in Swann Galleries’ June 6 auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Historical Prints, Ephemera was The City of New York as laid out by the Commissioners with the Surrounding Countryside, a nearly pristine final Commissioner's map of 1821 by John Randel, Jr., printed on satin, which brought an auction record price of $102,000*.

Gary Garland, Swann’s Director of Maps & Atlases, said, “This was a strong sale overall, and an excellent result for John Randel’s Commissioner’s Map of New York City, which was one of only two known copies on satin. And, only a very few regular copies printed on paper are known to exist.”

A number of 16th century maps were also among the sale highlights, including Thomaso Porcacchi’s L’Isole piu Famose del Mondo, Venice, 1590, $6,720; Theodore De Bry’s Americae pars, nunc Virginia, Frankfurt, 1590, $8,400 and Occidentalis Americae partis, Frankfurt, 1594, $9,600; and Linschoten / Langren, Delineatio Omnium Orarum Totius Australis Partis Americae, Dictae Peruviane . . ., hand-colored, Amsterdam, circa 1596, $5,760.

There was a late 17th century map of ‘T Hoogh-Heemraetschap Uytwaterende Sluysen In Kennemerlandt End West-Vrieslandt with Amsterdam, by Jan Janszoon Douw, $9,000; as well as Robert Dudley’s Asia carta di ciasete piu moderna, Florence, 1646, $4,560; Hugo Allard’s Novi Belgii Novaeqve Angliae nec non partes Virginiae, first state, Amsterdam, circa 1662, $5,040; and Henry Schenck Tanner’s United States of America, case map with hand-coloring, Philadelphia, 1829, $8,400.


Books with plates and decorative graphics performed well, with a copy of David Roberts’s The Holy Land, Syria, Idumea, Arabia, Egypt & Nubia, London, 1842-49, tripling its pre-sale estimate to bring $36,000; and John James Audubon’s White-breasted Eagle, Plate CXXVI, hand-colored, London, circa 1838, selling for $12,000.

Also drawing interest were a Currier & Ives print of “High Water” in the Mississippi, hand-colored, New York, 1868, $8,400; Sir Charles William Wilson’s Ordnance Survey of Jerusalem, three volumes, London, 1865, $6,480; James Gillray’s The Works, London, circa 1849, $6,000; and Frederic Edwin Church’s The Heart of the Andes, engraved print, London, 1863, $5,280.

Achieving an unexpectedly high price was a group of more than 35 hand-colored engraved caricatures from the golden age of English caricature, at $5,040.

Desirable examples of ephemera were a large advertising broadside for Old Colony Line servicee to Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, $1,920; a group of more than 330 bookplates from the golden age of plate design, $1,800; and a group of five publisher’s color proofs for the comic strip Miss Fury, $1,680.

For complete results, an illustrated color catalogue, with prices realized on request, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, and may be viewed online at

For further information, and to propose consignments to upcoming auctions of Maps & Atlases, Natural History and Historical Prints, please contact Gary Garland at (212) 254-4710, ext. 17, or via email at

 *All prices include buyer’s premium.

First image: Final Commissioner's Map of the City of New York, by John Randel, Jr., 1821. Sold for $102,000 including buyer's premium.

Second image: John James Audobon, White-breasted Eagle, Plate CXXVI, hand-colored, London, circa 1838. Sold for $12,000 including buyer's premium.