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Antique Maps Putting World Views Into Perspective

Beautifully illustrated maps of the world are drawing collectors to this week’s antique map and atlas auction, specially curated by category experts. Take a look below at the highlights from this worldly collection attracting travelers and historians alike.

Topping the nearly 100-lot catalog collection is a lavish world map by J. Elwe, which was printed in Amsterdam in 1792. It is a re-issue of a map first published in 1694 by Alexis-Hubert Jaillot. The map is beautifully decorated with a rich allegorical background. The female representations of the four continents adorn the corners with figures representing the virtues of Justice with her ax and scales, Truth holding a mirror while being attacked by a serpent, Fortitude with a broken column, a Temperance mixing wine and water.

1792 Elwe world map, ‘Mappe Monde ou Description du Globe Terrestre & Aquatique,’ cartographer: J. Elwe after A. Jaillot, 1792, Amsterdam, 18 x 24 in. Estimate: $3,200-$3,600. Jasper52 image

 

One of the most famous and iconic world maps is published in the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, which is considered the world’s first modern atlas. It was first published in 1570 in Antwerp. The map is the work of Abraham Ortelius, one of the most famous cartographers in history. This atlas was the most expensive book ever published on any subject up to that date. Of the 3,850 copies produced by 1587-1612, there are an estimated 395 of these atlases still intact. There are an estimated 556 loose examples of the map known.

World map, 1587-1612, cartographer: Abraham Ortelius, original hand color, 16 x 21 in., from the world’s first modern atlas, German edition. Estimate: $4,000-$4,500. Jasper52 image

 

The 1720 map of the world by Johann Baptist Homann is one of the most decorative maps of its kind of the 18th century. The double hemisphere shows the latest discovery of an incomplete Australia and New Zealand, and inaccurate depictions of Pacific Northwest and Japan.

Map: of the world, 1720, cartographer: J.B. Homann et Heirs, hand colored copperplate engraved, 21 x 24 in. Estimate: $1,500-$1,700. Jasper52 image

 

Also published by the Homann family in Nuremberg is a 1740s celestial chart. The hand-colored copperplate engraving is based on the works of astronomers Doppelmayr, Heelius and Halley. The double hemisphere celestial chart shows the constellations of the northern and southern skies depicted as animal figures. There are three diagrams showing the planetary modes by Brache, Ptolemy and Copernicus. Three other diagrams show the moon and sun, revolution of the earth around the sun and the effects of the moon on tides.

Celestial chart, Homann Heirs, Nuremberg, circa 1740s, hand-colored copperplate engraved, 22 x 25 in. Estimate: $1,300-$1,500. Jasper52 image

 

For those travelers following Horace Greeley’s advice, Colton’s 1872 folding map of the Western United States is essential. This large and colorful map on banknote paper indicates overland routes and projected railroad lines.

‘Colton’s Map of the States and Territories West of the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean Showing the Overland Routes, Projected Rail Road Lines,’ cartographer: J. Colton, 1876, New York, 29 x 42.5 in. Estimate: $1,800-$2,000. Jasper52 image

Antique Cartography: Exploring the Ends of the Earth

Let’s take a journey to the far corners of the earth. Let’s take a trek up the Missouri River. Let’s go on an adventure and dive deep into these antique atlases and maps all being offered in a curated auction this weekend.

One of the most colorful maps in the catalog is a double hemisphere map of the world published in 1792 in Amsterdam by J. Elwe. This lavish world map was first issued by Alexis-Hubert Jaillot nearly a century earlier. Elwe retains the cartography with the island of California, one of the last maps to do so, with Terre de Iesso just off shore of North America. In the Pacific there is only a partial New Zealand coastline and Van Diemens Land together with partial coastline for Terre Australe et Inconnue et Magellanique. The map is beautifully decorated with a rich allegroical background.

1792 Elwe world map, ‘Mappe Monde ou Description du Globe Terrestre & Aquatique,’ by J. Elwe after Haukkit’s 1694 map, published in Amsterdam, 18 in. x 24 in., expertly repaired marginal splits and chips. Estimate: $3,200-$3,600. Jasper52 image

 

From the same era is Brion de la Tour’s rare map of North and Central America. It represents the second issue of one of the first maps to name the United States. While the lands east of the Mississippi are highly detailed with many place names and good topography, the regions west of the Mississippi and north of Spanish New Mexico are labeled as “unknown lands.” The superb cartouche features an allegorical figure of America feeding her young amid native flora and fauna and European shipping.

‘ L’Amerique Septentrionale ou se Remarquent les Etats Unis,’ by cartographer Brion de la Tour, Paris / 1779/1783, 28 5/8 in. x 19 7/8 in. Estimate: $650-$750. Jasper52 image

 

A magnificent and highly informative map of the Western Hemisphere is made even more informative by three inset maps. The United States inset, with its own decorative title cartouche, focuses on the fledgling nation of 13 states and includes a huge number of place names and notes on topography and native tribes. The two other inset maps depict the northeastern and northwestern extremes of North America. The northwestern inset shows Alaska as a thing promontory marked “Alaschka.” The northeastern inset shows Greenland as part of the North American mainland and includes speculation on the possible location of a Northwest Passage.

Map of the Americas, ‘Karte von Amerika Nach d’Anville und Pownall/Karte von der Republik der Vereinigten Dreyzehen Staaten in Nord Amerika,’ by Von Reilly, Vienna, 1795, 30 in. x 23 in. Estimate: $500-$550. Jasper52 image

 

An 1852 Levasseur Atlas of France shows in single pages the 86 ‘departments’ and possessions of that nation. The maps in this seminal large atlas are in excellent condition, while the cover is fragmented and detached.

1852 atlas of France and its possession, ‘Atlas National Illustre des 86 Departements et des Possessions de la France,’ cartographer V. Levasseur, Paris, 21.8 in. x 14.8 in. Estimate: $775-$875. Jasper52 image

 

A modern reproduction of the Atlas Accompanying the Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804-1806 is one of an edition of 750 copies. The maps, folder to 9×5 inch size, are chiefly by American explorer William Clark, illustrating the route of the expedition, with sites of camping places and Indian villages. Also included is a modern map of the route prepared especially for this volume.

‘Atlas Accompanying the Original Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804 – 1806,’ Antiquarian Press Ltd., 1959, New York, quarto, housed in original red cloth solander box, maps folded to 9 x 5 inches size. Estimate: $375-$415. Jasper52 image

 

Extracted from a composite atlas of early 18th century maps is a large map of Africa by cartographer/engraver Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville and dated 1749 in Roman numerals. Printed in four sheets, the map is in good condition and suitable for framing. It is printed on thick, good quality paper with original outline hand color and has a decorative title cartouche.

Large folding map of Africa, 1749, cartographer/engraver: Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d’Anville, approximately 39.25 in x 40 in., printed on four sheets. Estimate: $900-$1,000. Jasper52 image

 

 

Dive into the full catalog here and take a trip around the world.