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Maps, Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books at Swann Galleries

Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books come to auction at Swann Galleries on Thursday, July 9.  American cartography and atlases that span the globe and the centuries, along with noteworthy treasures by John James Audubon will be featured in the sale.

Maps of America include the important John White and Theodor de Bry map of Virginia—the first showing in accurate detail any part of what is now the United States ($8,000-12,000); and a rare 1755 edition of the Fry & Jefferson map of the Most Inhabited Part of Virginia Containing the Whole Province of Maryland with part of Pensilvania, New Jersey and North Carolina ($12,000-18,000). Several Johannes van Keulen circa 1700 charts are in the sale, including the Carolina and Georgia coast ($2,500-3,500) and New England from Manhattan to Nantucket ($3,000-5,000).

Additional maps of note include manuscript plats compiled by the Separatist Society of Zoar, Ohio, that were intended for the organization of a new communal village in 1882 ($500-750); a rare first edition, first state of Braddock Mead’s Map of the Most Inhabited Part of New England, 1755 ($10,000-15,000); a circa 1814–16 “schoolgirl map” of east coast of the United States by Catharine Beecher—a major figure in early nineteenth-century American women’s education—made as a young student herself ($1,500-2,500); California as a massive island in Nicolas Sanson’s Le Nouveau Mexique et la Floride, 1656 ($3,000-5,000); and German editions of Captain John Smith’s maps of New England and Virginia ($4,000-6,000, apiece).

Atlases include first editions of all the volumes of Henri Chatelain’s Atlas Historique, 1705–20 ($15,000-20,000); Heirs of Homann’s mid-eighteenth century Atlas Mapparum Georgraphicarum Generalium & Specialium Centum Foliis; and eighteenth-century charts of American waters in The English Pilot, Fourth Book, 1789 ($12,000-18,000). Samuel N. Gaston’s The Campaign Atlas for 1861, a small Civil War atlas never before seen at auction ($1,000-1,500), and another unusual item with no previous auction records: United States Coast Survey topographical engineer Joseph Enthoffer’s 1869 atlas of templates designed to teach topographical drawing to Army officers ($1,500-2,500).  Also included is a 1676 revision of the Mercator Hondius Atlas Minor expanded to include 24 more maps than the previous edition ($8,000-12,000).

Color plate books feature John James Audubon’s first octavo edition of The Birds of America, 1840–44, signed and inscribed to the Baltimore author and original subscriber of this work, Brantz Mayer ($18,000-22,000). Additional works by Audubon include Robert Havell editions, featuring his masterful Great Blue Heron, plate CCXI, 1834 ($40,000-60,000), and a pristine example of the Golden Winged Woodpecker, plate XXXVII, 1828 ($4,000-6,000). A massive collection of over 750 mostly American bookplates and ownership labels from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries ($2,000-3,000), and exquisite Art Nouveau botanical plates from Eugène Grasset’s La Plante et Ses Applications Ornementales, 1896 ($4,000-6,000), also feature.

Historical prints and drawings feature an unusual painting on cobweb fibers of a Tyrolean peasant couple, circa 1870s, for the Swiss tourist trade ($400-600); a group of plates from 1841 including imposing portraits of Native Americans by Karl Bodmer ($3,000-4,000); and an effective circa 1885-90 watercolor of an owl by Scottish painter Archibald Thorburn ($3,000-5,000).

Limited previewing (by appointment only) will be available from July 6 through July 8.  Swann Galleries staff will prepare condition reports and provide additional photographs of material on request. Advance order bids can be placed directly with the specialist for the sale or on Swann’s website, and phone bidding will be available.  Live online bidding platforms will be the Swann Galleries App, Invaluable, and Live Auctioneers. The complete catalogue and bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com and on the Swann Galleries App.

The auction will take place on Thursday, July 9, at 10:30 am and for more information please contact the specialist, Caleb Kiffer, at caleb@swanngalleries.com or (212) 254-4710 ext. 17.