Swann Galleries closed out the year with a marathon sale of Maps and Atlases, Natural History and Color Plate Books on Dec. 17. The auction brought $910,087 and saw a 93-percent sell-through rate. Highlights included rare cartographic publications from Hawaii, atlases from across the globe and historic prints.
Hawaiian-Language Schoolbook From Lahainaluna Seminary Makes Its Market Debut
19th-Century Atlas Sells For $68,750
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 Ptolemaeuss Geographicae Enarrationis Libri Octo, Lyons, 1535 ($27,500); Thomas Jefferyss The American Atlas: Or, a Geographical Description of the Whole Continent of America, London, 1776-77 ($20,000); Willem and Joan Blaeus 1658 second volume of Novus Atlas comprising France, Spain, Asia, Africa and America ($16,250); and Joseph Nicolas Delisles 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 Waldseemüllers Admirals Map from the 1513 edition of Ptolemys 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 & Ivess large-folio hand-colored lithograph, titled Mississippi in Time of Peace, made an impression, bringing $21,250 over a $9,000 high-estimate. Caleb Kiffer, the houses Maps and 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 its historically significant. Further historic illustrations included Buffalo Hunt, Chase, a 19th-century oil-on-canvas painting after George Catlin, which sold for $9,375.
Hartmann Schedels 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 15th 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, realized $7,500.
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