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Fall 2015 Season Highlights


    Maps, Atlases, Natural History

    & Color Plate Books

    December 8


    An introduction to the catalog by Swann Maps & Atlases specialist Alex Clausen: 

    These important maps and atlases cover the history of America from some of the earliest European conceptions of the continent to the final settling of the Wild West. The selection opens with some remarkably accurate outlines, followed shortly by the introduction of one of the longest-lasting fallacies in the cartography of America: the mapping of California as an island (lot 6). 

    Numerous examples of early English cartography and of products of the Dutch Golden Age elucidate early struggles to settle the East Coast. Following the resolutions of competing claims over that area in the mid-17th century, the focus shifts to the interior of the continent. The bounties of those lands spurred one of the world's first speculative booms, the Mississippi Bubble (lot 34, 35, 36, and 37), and later the French and Indian War (lot 44). 

    Here is a particularly strong collection of maps and books related to the American Revolution, including what Schwartz and Ehrenberg called "The rarest and most important atlas treating the events of the American Revolution" in William Faden's North American Atlas.



    Lot 58: William Faden, The North American Atlas

    London, 1777, featuring Bernard Ratzer's Plan of the City of New York.

    Sold for $341,000.  

    Maps & Atlases

    Maps & Atlases


    Lot 10: Jodocus Hondius, Historia Mundi: or Mercator's Atlas

    London, 1635. Sold for $20,000. 

    Maps & Atlases 

    Maps & Atlases 

    Maps & Atlases


    After the Revolution, the work of establishing the new nation began in earnest; we see here the early efforts to build a national capital (lot 67) and to solidify state borders (lot 76 and 77). The War of 1812 briefly kept the nation's focus on the global ambitions of the British and the Atlantic seaboard, preoccupations that are illustrated well in Shelton's & Kensett's map (lot 78).



    Lot 79: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

     History of the Expedition under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark to the Sources, first edition, Philadelphia and New York, 1814. Sold for $52,500. 


    Maps & Atlases 


    After that war concluded, the maps of Lewis & Clark (lot 79) and John Melish (lot 80) shifted the nation's perspective dramatically westward across the plains and towards the Pacific. They ushered in a century of exploration and settlement, as well as war.


    Lot 80: John Melish, Map of the United States

    engraved folding map on original linen, Philadelphia, 1816.

    Sold for $42,500. 


    Maps & Atlases 


    Decades later the focus would shift again: to California during its famed Gold Rush (lot 82 and lot 83), and nearly simultaneously to Texas and the Southwest during the Mexican-American War (lot 81). The final throes of the West were seen in the Great Sioux War of 1876, which is presaged in a fascinating map published just before the onset of hostilities, the last lot of this section (lot 85) rounding out the best selection of American Maps and Atlases offered by Swann in recent history. 


    View the full online catalog here.  


    To consign your maps with Swann, contact a specialist

    in our Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books department.




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