The 40 items in this group include the earliest map by Waghenaer, printed in Leiden in 1586 which is estimated to sell for £800 to £1,200; the most expensive of the group is the highly-decorative map of Romeyn de Hooge, 1693 at £900 to £1,200; the most-admired by map collectors is the scarce printed in Florence by Sir Robert Dudley who made the disputed claim that he was the Duke of Northumberland. This map, lot 362, is estimated to sell for £1,000 to £1,500.
These maps show Cornwall with Scilly positioned beyond Land’s End. Others depict the islands alone, of which the earliest is the hand-coloured chart
by Greenville Collins, printed in 1693 and which is estimated to sell for between £300 and £500.
In April this year Bonhams sold an exceptional collection of 184 lots, assembled by the Enys family of Enys near Falmouth, which covered the history of Cornwall. The collection encompassed works of poetry, fiction, news items, crime reports, maps and photograph and was estimated to fetch £50,000 but in fact made £80,000.
David Park Head of Books Maps and Manuscripts Department at Bonhams, says: “It is happy coincidence that in a season when Bonhams has been able to offer one of the best collection of books on Cornwall of recent years, we also now have this remarkable collection—Scillonian, but undeniably Cornish as well’’
Many of these early maps were destined for the libraries of wealthy men. Few made it to sea in the hands of mariners, most of those that did have not survived because of the wear and tear they were subjected to. As they are today, early maps were seen as decorative items quite as much as anything else, and only with time became seen as objects of utility for actual use by seamen.
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's oldest and largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son and Neale UK. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street, and Knightsbridge, and a further seven throughout the UK. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York and Boston in the USA; and Switzerland, France, Monaco, Australia, Hong Kong and Dubai. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 50 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, go to www.bonhams.com.