A Look Inside the Catalogue
Lot 238: Matthaus Seutter, Atlas Novus sive Tabulae Geographicae totius Orbis,
with 29 double-page maps, Augsburg, circa 1735. Sold for $15,625.
Our December 8 auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books took us on a journey across time and space, by offering a plethora of tantalizing artifacts of global exploration and discovery. Notable examples of early maps included Matthaus Seutter’s Atlas Novus sive Tabulae Geographicae totius Orbis, which contains a resplendent double-hemispheric world map with four additional continental maps and a range of European subjects. Joannes Clericus’ atlas of ancient and modern geography titled Atlas Antiquus, Sacer, Ecclesiasticus et Profanus, was also offered.
Lot 70: Petrus Plancius, "The Spice Map," Insulae Moluccae Celeberrimae, double-page map of Southeast Asia,
London, 1598. Sold for $31,200.
There was a strong selection of items relating to Southeast Asia in the sale, including one of the first printed maps of the area, Claudius Ptolemaus’s Undecima Asiae Tabulae, , and a very rare English edition of Insulae Moluccae Celeberrimae, Petrus Placius’s map of the East Indies, engraved by Richard Beckit for Jan Huygen van Linschoten’s Discours of Voyages into ye Easte & West Indies. The map is based on secret Portuguese manuscript charts, though with more accurate placement of islands and mostly correct nomenclature. The publication of this map led to the dissolution of the Portuguese monopoly of the spice trade of the Indies, opening the door for the Dutch to gain access to the lucrative commerce. The map is highly decorated with ships, sea monsters, a compass rose, and valuable spices from the region, including nutmeg, cloves and sandalwood.
Rounding out these offerings was Robert Laurie and James Whittle’s The Complete East India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator, the most comprehensive navigational guide of the eighteenth century. Due to a privileged relationship with the Royal Navy and East India Company, the firm of Robert Laurie and James Whittle had special access to the latest manuscript charts which arrived on ships returned to England from Asia. The atlas brought $81,250.
A peculiar lot in the sale, pictured below, was a set of prints which represent the geocentric astronomical theory of an English religious movement called Muggletonianism. Among other curious beliefs, Muggletonians refuted modern scientific views on the order of the universe and Newtonian physics.
At Left, Lot 225: Robert Laurie & James Whittle, The Complete East-India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator, London, 1797. Sold for $81,250.
Lot 15: Isaac Frost, series of 6 plates representing geocentric Muggletonian astronomical theory,
London, 1846. Sold for $1,000.
Left, Lot 311: Mark Catesby & Georg Ehret, Magnolia Grandiflora, plate from a first edition of Natural History of Carolina,
London, 1731-43. Sold for $10,625.
Right, Lot 292: John James Audubon, The Mocking Bird, Plate 21, hand-colored aquatint and engraving,
London, 1827. Sold for $18,750.
Lot 270: Thomas Shotter Boys, Original Views of London As It Is, deluxe issue in its original state, with 26 hand-colored lithographs,
London, 1842. Sold for $21,250.
Finally, a very special offering: the complete original deluxe edition of Thomas Shotter Boys’s Original Views of London As It Is, considered the finest lithographed plate book on nineteenth-century London. This is only the third copy of this edition to come to auction in the last 50 years. It sold for $21,250.
For more information on the sale, contact Specialist Caleb Kiffer.
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