January 4, 2013

Results for Maps of Asia, Ornithology Books at Swann Galleries

New York—Swann Galleries’ December 6 auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Historical Prints, Ephemera featured an outstanding collection of mappings of Asia, and buyers bid enthusiastically for the best and rarest examples of these.

Gary Garland, Swann’s Director of Maps & Atlases, said, “The map market holds strong. The Japanese economy has had an effect on the prices of maps of Japan and strength has turned to China as evidenced by the strong showing of maps that featured or included China. People interested in the unusual were delighted with the ephemera offerings.”
Among the top Asian maps were Rôkashi Zuda, outline map of all the countries of the universe based on Buddhist beliefs, Kyoto, 1710, $16,800*; Linschoten / Langren, Exacta & accurate dilineatio cum orarum maritimarum tum etiam locorum terrestrium quae regionibus China, London, 1598, which brought an auction record price of $15,600; Robert Dudley, Carta particolare della Grande Isola de Giapone è di Iezo con il Regno di Corai, Florence, 1647, $10,200; Paulus Merula, Totius Orbis Cogniti Universalis Descriptio, double-page engraved map, Leyden, 1605, $6,000; Melchisédech Thévenot, untitled folding map, showing Japan, Korea, China, Java and Borneo, Paris, circa 1663, $5,760; and John Speed, The Kingdome of China, double-page engraved map, London, 1626 [i.e. 1676], $5,280.

Related items of note included a group of three photo albums with approximately 190 photographs of China, India, Burma and Sri Lanka, circa 1900, $10,800; a collection of more than 35 engraved bonds from China, some in support of the Chinese Government, 1940s, $6,240; and Thomas and Harriett Tindale, The Handmade Papers of Japan, four volumes Rutland and Tokyo, 1952 ($4,080.

Among cartographic highlights on other subjects were Abraham Ortelius, Typus Orbis Terrarum, hand-colored, Antwerp, 1580, which achieved an auction record of $14,400. Also earning $14,400 was Willem and Jan Blaeu, Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula, Amsterdam, circa 1630, $14,400.

There was also a pocket issue of Anthony Finley’s New American Atlas, with 15 hand-colored maps, Philadelphia, 1826, $9,000; as well as Gordon Thomas, Map of the State of New Jersey, with Parts of Adjoining States, hand-colored pocket map, Trenton, 1828, $7,800; and Matthaeus Merian, group of five volumes from the Topographia series, Frankfurt, 1644-1736, $6,480.
The top lot in the auction was an incomplete first edition of John Gould and Richard Bowdler Sharpe’s Birds of New Guinea and the Adjacent Papuan Islands, volumes 2-5, London, 1875-88, which sold for $33,600. Other desirable works on birds included Walter Rothschild, Extinct Birds, first edition, signed, London, 1907, $6,240; Henry Eeles Dresser, A History of the Birds of Europe, first edition, London, 1871-96, $5,760; and Alexander Wilson, American Ornithology, atlas volume, containing 76 hand-colored plates, New York and Philadelphia, 1829, $5,280.           

Also valued for its plates was Pferde Geschier Muster, two 18th century booklets containing drawings and watercolors of horses, displaying styles available from a harness maker, $5,520; while featured decorative graphics included Whiskey, an oil on canvas depicting a poor family with a “whiskey” sign over their door, by an anonymous artist, 1873, $4,080.

Popular examples of ephemera were a group of more than 300 mint-condition mutoscope pin-ups for use in arcades, 1940s-50s, $2,214; 181 leaves of printing specimens, Philadelphia, 1882, $2,160; and a group of approximately 900 cigar labels from the first quarter of the 20th century, $2,640.

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 www.swanngalleries.com.

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 ggarland@swanngalleries.com.
*All prices include buyer’s premium.