. January 11, 2008

(Sedona, Ariz.) – An extremely rare, first-edition chart of the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas (a small group of islands located just off the Florida Keys) sold for $38,640 in an online auction held November 21-December 5 by Old World Auctions (OldWorldAuctions.com). It was the top seller of 925 lots sold in the auction.


The highly detailed map, published by William Faden in 1790, was based on surveys conducted by George Gauld in the area from 1773-1775,. It was titled “An Accurate Chart of the Tortugas and Florida Keys or Martyrs Surveyed…” Gauld had been assigned by the British Admiralty to chart the waters off West Florida, where he was taken prisoner by Spanish forces during the siege of Pensacola, in 1781.

The map, which had not appeared in any price records for the past 30 years, carried a pre-sale estimate of $7,000-$9,000. It more than quadrupled that amount, and the trend continued with the second top lot, a scarce and handsome sea chart of Europe and the eastern Atlantic, done in 1644 by Anthonie Jacobsz. That map exceeded its high estimate of $2,500 by more than six times, to finish at $17,360.

“This was one of our best sales of last year, one that was filled with uncommon maps that garnered much attention,” said Diane Kelly, Map Specialist for Old World Auctions. “Many rare examples soared past their high estimates. We had a lot of wonderful items in this auction. Collectors always respond to good material, despite what you may hear about gloomy economic news.”

Ms. Kelly said European bidders turned out in large numbers, a fact she attributed to the strength of the euro and British pound, against the U.S. dollar. Canada, too, with its strong dollar, was well represented. “It was good to see so much activity from all over the world,” she commented. “It just shows that antique maps remain a burgeoning, healthy area of collecting.”

Additional highlights from the sale follow. All prices quoted include a 12% buyer’s premium.

An interesting graphic woodblock map of China, crafted sometime in the 19th century and featuring the Great Wall, gaveled for $1,904. The piece carried a pre-sale high estimate of just $300, but was the object of intense bidder interest. The map showed the ocean and an extensive network of mountains and rivers. The simple title, “Map of China,” was shown in Chinese characters.

Early jigsaw puzzle maps also garnered much attention. A John Wallis puzzle map from 1813, titled “Laurie & Whittle’s New General Map of America,” still in its original mahogany box decorated with the label signed by Wallis himself, achieved $1,344. Another jigsaw puzzle map, titled “The Dissected Map of the United States and Territories,” executed by J.H. Colton in 1865, realized $504.

Old World Auctions’ next sale, #123, will close on February 20 and will be online for three weeks prior. The firm will preview select maps for the sale at the 15th annual Miami Map Fair in Miami, Fla. Dubbed “the Super Bowl of mapdom” by Miami Today magazine, the event will be held February 2-3 at the History Museum of Southern Florida in Miami. Old World Auctions has exhibited at the Fair since 2001.

The Miami International Map Fair is a prestigious annual event, the largest map fair in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. It includes workshops and lectures, as well as sales by top international dealers. Attendees will enjoy the weekend browsing and buying antique maps from every period, from the common to the exceedingly rare, as they rub shoulders with map dealers, collectors and aficionados from around the globe.
A couple of important maps Old World Auctions will be previewing at the Miami International Map Fair include:
• A rare, first-edition copy of the Henry Mouzon map of the Carolinas, executed n 1775 and titled, “An Accurate Map of North and South Carolina with their Indian Frontiers.” The large map, published by Sayer & Bennett, is considered by scholars to be a foundation map of the Carolinas.
• An important Revolutionary War-era map of the United States, dated 1782 and executed by Brion de la Tour. Titled “Site du Theatre de la Guerre dans l’Amerique Septentrionale y Compris le Golfe du Mexique,” it is an uncommon representation of the southeastern United States that includes Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. A graphic in the cartouche depicts the British General Cornwallis surrendering his sword to George Washington, signaling an end to the American Revolution.

Old World Auctions specializes in cartography and conducts five sales each year. The auctions are always held online; the firm has no floor auction. In addition to Internet bidding, phone, fax and mail bids are accepted.

To learn more about Old World Auctions, and to view some of the maps that will be featured in the February sale, you may visit them online: www.OldWorldAuctions.com. The firm is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign a historical map or an entire collection, you may call them directly, at (928) 282-3944, or toll-free, at (800) 664-7757. Their e-mail address is info@OldWorldAuctions.com.

Category: Auction News

Comments are closed.