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Results of Maps, Atlases & Color Plate Books Sale

Swann Galleries closed out the decade with a marathon sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books on Tuesday, December 17. The auction brought $910,087 and saw a 93% sell-through rate. Highlights included rare cartographic publications from Hawaii, atlases from across the globe and historic prints.

The sale was led by a rare 1840 Hawaiian-language school geography atlas printed by the Lahainaluna Seminary. Engraved by George Luther Kapeau, who would go on to become a statesman and governor of Hawaii, He Mau Palapala Aina A Me Na Niele No Ka Hoikehonua, No Na Kamalii, made its auction debut at $68,750. Additional atlases of note featured Claudius Ptolemaeus’s Geographicae Enarrationis Libri Octo, Lyons, 1535 ($27,500); Thomas Jefferys’s The American Atlas: Or, a Geographical Description of the Whole Continent of America, London, 1776-77 ($20,000); Willem and Joan Blaeu’s 1658 second volume of Novus Atlas comprised of France, Spain, Asia, Africa and America ($16,250); and Joseph Nicolas Delisle’s Atlas Rossiiskoi, St. Petersburg, a 1745 Russian-language edition of the first comprehensive atlas devoted to the Russian Empire ($15,000).

A strong offering of maps featured Tabula Terre Nove, Strasbourg, Martin Waldseemüller’s “Admiral’s Map” from the 1513 edition of Ptolemy’s Geograpiae ($25,000); America a New and Most Exact Map, London, a scarce 1748 map by Thomas Bakewell ($11,875); and Africae Vera Forma, et Situs, Antwerp, 1593, with hand-coloring, by Cornelis de Jode ($9,375).

A rarely seen 1865 Currier & Ives’s large-folio hand-colored lithograph, Mississippi in Time of Peace, made an impression, bringing $21,250 over a $9,000 high-estimate. Caleb Kiffer, the house’s Maps & Atlases specialist, noted of the print, “Mississippi in Time of Peace has everything going for it. Unbelievably beautiful to look at, extremely rare, fantastic condition—and it’s historically significant.”  Further historic illustrations included Buffalo Hunt, Chase, a nineteenth-century oil on canvas painting after George Catlin, which sold for $9,375.

Hartmann Schedel’s Liber Cronicarum cum Figuris et Ymaginibus ab Inicio Mundi, Nuremberg, 1493, formed the cornerstone in an offering of biblical material. The Nuremberg Chronicle, of which “no other illustrated book printed in the fifteenth century rivals its scope and ambition,” reached $62,500. A 1665 cartographically-illustrated Bible printed in Basel, which featured six engraved hand-colored folding maps, fetched $7,500.

All prices include the buyer’s premium.  For more information and additional results, contact the specialist, Caleb Kiffer, at caleb@swanngalleries.com or (212) 254-4710, ext. 17.