Lot 70: Petrus Plancius, “The Spice Map,” double-page map of Southeast Asia, London, 1598. Sold December 8, 2016 for $31,200.
One quarter of the top 20 lots pertained to early European exploration of the East Indies, including “The Spice Map,” a colloquial term for Petrus Placius’s Insulae Moluccae Celeberrimae, 1598, which helped to open the area to Dutch traders.
225: Robert Laurie & James Whittle, The Complete East-India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator, London, 1797. Sold December 8, 2016 for $81,250.
The highlight of the sale was The Complete East-India Pilot, or Oriental Navigator, 1797, Robert Laurie and James Whittle’s monumental atlas with 113 engraved charts, called the pinnacle of eighteenth-century mapmaking: it sold for $81,250, above a $60,000 high estimate. Also in the sale was one of the first maps ever published of the area, Claudius Ptolemaus’s Undecima Asiae Tabula, circa 1480s, a double-paged engraved map that set the standard for geographical printing.
Lot 71: Claudius Ptolemaus, Undecima Asiae Tabula, double-page map, Rome, circa 1480s. Sold December 8, 2016 for $6,000.
“The East Indies section came primarily from a single collection,” specialist Caleb Kiffer said. “It was fun to see them all together, telling the narrative of the spice trade from the perspective of different countries over the span of several hundred years. They were a hot spot in the sale, as were the New York views.”
Lot 346: Robert Havell, Jr., Panoramic View of New York (detail), aquatint with hand-coloring, first state, New York, 1840. Sold December 8, 2016 for $10,000.
All but one of the 22 offered lots related to early maps and scenes of New York City sold. Two panoramic views of the city each went for well above their estimates: one was a first state engraving by Robert Havell Jr., while the second was an 1856 graphite drawing by Frederick William Billing showing recognizable landmarks ($8,750).
Lot 166: Egbert Viele, Sanitary and Topographical Map of… New York, hand-colored lithograph, New York, 1865. Sold December 8, 2016 for $7,250, a record for the work.
Left, Lot 370: Robert John Thornton, The Blue Egyptian Water-Lily, hand-finished color aquatint, London, 1804. Right, Lot 373: Robert John Thornton, The Quadrangular Passion-Flower, hand-finished color aquatint, London, 1802. Each sold December 8, 2016 for $2,860.
Lot 311: Mark Catesby & Georg Ehret, Magnolia Grandiflora, hand-colored engraving, London, 1731-43. Sold December 8, 2016 for $10,625.
One show-stopper was an engraved plate from the first edition of Mark Catesby and Georg Ehret’s Natural History of Carolina, 1731-43, titled Magnolia Grandiflora, depicting the white flower in dramatic contrast against a black background; it sold for $10,625. In all, 50 of the 58 offered natural and botanical plates and books found buyers.
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 December 8, 2016 for $21,250.
A rare deluxe edition of Thomas Shotter Boys’s Original Views of London As It Is, 1842, was also in the sale. Considered the finest lithographed plate book on nineteenth-century London, the 26 hand-colored vistas helped to change the prevailing opinion that only natural views could be beautiful. This extremely rare edition, in its original state, garnered $21,250.