Selections From a Noteworthy Collection of American Historical Prints

Our April 15, 2021 auction of Printed & Manuscript Americana opens with a noteworthy collection of historical prints which spins a narrative of America stretching from the arrival of Columbus to the start of the Civil War. This collection was compiled over the past three decades by a Virginia gentleman, buying mostly from the leading dealers and auction houses in the field.  

Here you can find famed rarities such as the 1776 London engraving of the Romans view of Bunker Hill (lot 22, only one seen at auction since 1973); and unknown gems such as the Battle of Buena Vista lithographed by Frances Palmer (lot 106, none traced in OCLC).

Lot 22: Bernard Romans, An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775, engraving, 1776. Estimate $40,000 to $60,000.
Lot 106: Frances Palmer, Battle of Buena Vista: View of the Battle-Ground and Battle of “The Angostura,” chromolithograph, New York, 1847. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.

Also available are beautiful copies of old favorites including the southeast and southwest views of Manhattan from the 1768 Scenographia Americana series (lots 6 and 7); and at least one previously unknown item, a circa 1832 printing of the Constitution featuring a portrait of Washington (lot 60); as well as a few bargains to catch the attention of all ranks of collectors.  

Lot 6: Pierre Canot, A South West View of the City of New York, in North America, engraving, London, circa 1768. Estimate $3,000 to $4,000.
Lot 7: Pierre Canot, A South East View of the City of New York, engraving, London, circa 1768. Estimate $3,000 to $4,000.
Lot 60: Constitution of the United States, illustrated letterpress, Philadelphia, circa 1832. Estimate $1,000 to $1,500.

Colonial America, the Revolution, George Washington, and the War of 1812 are the focal points. Dramatic battle scenes (land and sea) alternate with portraiture of the founding fathers, city views, and a thought-provoking section of allegorical prints which reflect on independent America’s new place in the world after the Revolution.

A small selection of important illustrated books and pamphlets on the Revolution (lots 15, 25, 26, and 40) complements the mezzotints, etchings, lithographs, and copper engravings. 

Lot 15: A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston, London, 1770. Estimate $12,000 to $18,000.
Lot 25: Thomas Anburey, Travels through the Interior Parts of America, folding map with hand-colored routes, London, 1791. Estimate $500 to $750.
Lot 26: Edmund Burke, An Impartial History of the War in America, folding map, London, 1780. Estimate $1,500 to $2,500.
Lot 40: Benjamin West, Bickerstaff’s Boston Almanack, for the Year of our Redemption, 1778, Danvers, MA, 1777. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000.

Do you have a collection of historical prints we should take a look at?

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