Records & Results: Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books

Our June 7 auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books saw strong results with multiple auction debuts and records, as well as a plethora of unique and unusual items. Approximately two thirds of the lots offered fell into the category of maps and atlases, with strong results in both subheadings. Of the 265 lots, 86% percent found buyers, exceeding the low estimate for the section by more than $100,000.


Lot 225: Hovhannes Amira Dadian, Illustrated World Atlas, with 10 hand-colored double-page maps, Venice, 1849. Sold June 7, 2017 for $37,500.


The first world atlas in the Armenian language topped the sale, reaching more than five times its $6,000 high estimate to sell for $37,500, a record for the work. Hovhannes Amira Dadian created the atlas in the Armenian monastery on the Venetian island of San Lazzaro in 1849 in an effort to bring Western knowledge to his home country. The atlas boasts ten hand-colored double-page maps, including one of the solar system, all of which were printed in Paris and based primarily on contemporary French models.


Lot 60: Lewis Evans, Special Land Charte von Pensilvanien, Neu Jersey, Neu York, engraved map, Frankfurt, 1750. Sold June 7, 2017 for $27,500.


Another highlight was the Speciel Land Charte von Pensilvanien, Neu Jersey, Neu York, a 1750 map by Lewis Evans published in Frankfurt, whose alluring designations such as “The Endless Mountains” may have been responsible for the subsequent German emigration to the state. The map sold for $27,500, far exceeding its high estimate of $15,000. The only other known copy is in the collection of the Library of Congress.


Lot 296: William Hodgson, Journal of a Voyage, two manuscript logbooks bound, with 35 watercolor illustrations, 1819 & 1821.
Sold June 7, 2017 for $20,800.


Multiple bidders on a manuscript logbook that recounts two voyages from England to the Mediterranean, replete with records and delightful watercolors by Captain William Hodgson, sent the price flying past the high estimate of $5,000 to a price realized of $20,800. Specialist Caleb Kiffer noted, “The log book is one of those unusual items that rarely comes to market and that gets people really excited.”

Lot 69: Slate globe, American, early twentieth century. Sold June 7, 2017 for $1,625.


Other items he noted included a mysterious early twentieth-century chalkboard globe that tripled its modest high estimate to sell for $1,625, and a rare map by Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres detailing the proceedings of the Revolutionary War near Charleston, SC ($21,250).

Lot 36: Joseph Frederick Wallet Des Barres, A Sketch of the Operations Before Charlestown the Capital of South Carolina, large chart, London, 1780.
Sold June 7, 2017 for $21,250.


For complete results, browse the full catalogue. The next auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books at Swann Galleries will be held December 5, 2017. We are currently accepting quality consignments.