Rare Book Monthly

Articles - May - 2014 Issue

Rare and Collectible Maps at Old World Auction - ending May 21st


As is common these days, the Upcoming Auctions calendar on AE is chock-full for May. The amount of material to browse can be overwhelming, and month to month, we try to write about several auctions per month appealing to specific collector niches. One such auction taking place this month is Old World Auctions’ second of its four annual auctions, Sale #149. Serious cartography collectors should already be familiar with Old World as that subject is the house focus, but in case you’re not on their mailing list, take note.  Accepting bids online May 7th through the 21st, the auction will focus on antique maps and atlases, with historical books with maps, geography books, globes, antique prints, illuminated manuscripts, and reference books included for sale as well. Old World has stated that while a wide variety of geographies are included, exemplary selections of maps of the World, Western Hemisphere, Africa, the Republic of Texas, and New York are the sale’s strengths. Other highly desirable atlases include those by Speed/Kaerius, Ruscelli, Cluver, and Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. Historically, items sold at Old World go in the middle range, with items listed in the hundreds, and as well thousands of dollars.

Here are ten featured maps for Sale #149, which are but a scratch on the surface of the 800 or so lots being offered:

-        Blaeu's Magnificent Carte-a-Figures World Map in Full Original Color.  Willem Blaeu, Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Geographica ac Hydrographica Tabula, 1635.  Estimate $14000 - $16000.

-        Hondius' Important Map of the Americas in Full Original Color.  Jodocus Hondius, America, 1630.  Estimate $4750 - $6000.

-        Fascinating Cross-Section of the Earth.  Athanasius Kircher, Systema Ideale Quo Exprimitur, Aquarum per Canales Hydragogos Subterraneos..., 1682.  Estimate $1600 - $1800.

-        One of the Most Decorative Early Maps of Africa.  Linschoten/Langren, Typus Orarum Maritimarum Guineae, Manicongo, & Angolae…, 1596.  Estimate $4000 - $4750.

-        Depiction of the Republic of Texas.  David H. Burr, The United States of Mexico, 1837.  Estimate $500 - $650.

-        One of the Most Decorative and Sought-After 19th Century Plans of New York.  John Tallis, New York, 1851.  Estimate $1000 - $1300.

-        Map of Puerto Rico from One of the Most Famous Island Books of the 16th Century.  Tomaso Porcacchi, S. Giovanni, 1586.  Estimate $350 - $450.

-        Adrichom's Influential Bird's-Eye Plan of Jerusalem.  Christian van Adrichom, Ierusalem et Suburbia Eius, Sicut Tempore Christi Floruit..., 1682.  Estimate $2000 - $2300.

-        A Very Early Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co. Atlas.  Thomas, Cowperthwait & Co., A New Universal Atlas Containing Maps of the Various Empires, Kingdoms, States and Republics of the World..., 1852.  Estimate $3000 - $4000.

-        Very Rare Italian Sea Flags Published in Sanson's "Le Neptune Francois".  Pierre Mortier, Pavillon d'Italie &c. / Italiaanse Vlaggen &c., 1693.  Estimate $950 - $1200.

If you’re on Old World’s mailing list, you also recently received an article by Eliane Dotson, a co-owner and operator of the house, on strategies for both buyers and sellers at auction. She highlights concepts that my dad Bruce has applied in both of his past auctions. First, that sellers providing as much information as possible about items is highly important. Doing so decreases the risk for buyers to participate in bidding and also gives them better capabilities to make their own assessments of value. Secondly, while historically higher starting prices have created a higher perceived value, known as the anchoring effect, studies (the one cited in Eliane’s article is available in full here) have shown that lower starting prices encourage more bidders to participate and can also convey a higher perceived value because of the number of bids tied to the increased number of participants. On the other hand, specialized niche items may benefit more from higher starting prices as the bidder base is inherently smaller for these types of material.

For potential buyers, Eliane covers risk tolerance first—“determined by how critical it is that the buyer win the item, as well as how important it is that the buyer avoid the ‘winner's curse,’ which occurs when the buyer pays more than the true value of the item.” After determining that tolerance, a bidding strategy is commonly applied. Two such strategies are discussed, “squatting” and “jump bidding.” Squatting involves bidding early, aggressively, and often, while not bidding the minimum since it encourages competition. The second tactic, jump bidding, is a method of placing a bid much higher than the current bidding pattern, which conveys a potential buyer’s strong interest. In live auction settings, it has the psychological effect of making competitors consider whether or not they value the item as much as their competition. In an online auction setting, such as Old World’s, bidders have the option of placing a high maximum bid. Other bidders who then place bids are immediately outbid on each, an effective discouragement; that is, of course, until they reach and pass the high number. Don’t go to an auction without a plan!

Here are details specific to Old World Auctions’ methods of conducting sales.

Per Old World, interested bidders must register on their website at https://www.oldworldauctions.com/ssl/register.asp. Their auctions feature a 10-minute rule at the close of the auction, keeping lots with active bidding open for an additional 10 minutes, until there are no bids on the lot for a full 10 minutes. All packaging and shipping is done in-house, shipping to over 70 countries each year. All items in the sale are on consignment, and they work with an international group of consignors consisting of collectors, dealers, and other qualified individuals, many of whom have been working with Old World for over 10 years. Four auctions are held yearly, this being the second, with approximately 800 lots per sale. The final two will take place in September and November. Old World adheres to a strict code of ethics, offering superior customer service as well as a 100% money back guarantee on the authenticity and condition of every item in the auction.

Here is link to the Old World website

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 7. Ritter's unusual sun-dial world map, 1607. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 16. Fascinating Japanese satirical map published prior to WWII, 1932. Est. $1400 to $2000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 30. Newton's 2" miniature terrestrial globe, 1833. Est. $3500 to $4500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 318. Braun & Hogenberg's first plan of Moscow in contemporary color, 1575. Est. $2750 to $3500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 346. One of the most decorative 18th century maps of Malta, 1680. Est. $1200 to $1500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 412. The first printed map devoted to the Pacific in full contemporary color, 1589. Est. $8000 to $10000
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 425. Rare set of celebrated explorers of the New World, 1592. Est. $1900 to $2300
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 436. Two superb miniature atlases bound in one volume with 98 maps, 1682. Est. $5500 to $7500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 445. Part IV of de Bry's "Grand Voyages" by Girolamo Benzoni, 1613. Est. $2000 to $2500
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 447. Tallis' "History of the United States of America" in six volumes, 1850. Est. $1500 to $1800
    <b>Old World Auctions (March 21-28):</b> Lot 448. Mallet's miniature military masterpiece, 1672. Est. $1400 to $1700
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Malcolm X, Autograph Letter Signed, from prison, 1950. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Letter from Moses Walker, an enslaved Georgia man, to his mother at another plantation, 1854. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Signed cabinet card of Frederick Douglass, albumen photograph, Boston, circa 1879. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Placard from the Memphis Sanitation Worker's strike, 1968. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b><br><i>The North Star,</i> volume 1, issue 27, Rochester, NY, 1848. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Hand-tinted tintype of John Brown, circa 1860. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29: Printed & Manuscript African Americana</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster signed & inscribed by Huey Newton, circa 1967. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Album of aerial views of the march on Montgomery, taken by federal troops, 1965. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 29:</b> Poster for the SNCC, photograph by Danny Lyon featuring John Lewis, circa 1962. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. $80,000 to $120,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. $100,000 to $150,000
    <b>Bonhams: Fine Books and Manuscripts. March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. $200,000 to 300,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. $80,000 to $120,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Jenner (Rev. George Charles). <i>The Evidence at Large...Respecting Dr Jenner's Discovery of Vaccine Inoculation,</i> presentation copy from Edward Jenner to Rev. Rowland Hill, 1805. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Houdini (Harry).- Maggi (Girolamo). <i>De tintinnabulis liber postumus...de equuleo liber,</i> Harry Houdini's copy, Amsterdam, H. Wetstein, 1689. £600 to £800
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Meyer (Henry Leonard). Coloured Illustrations of British Birds, and their Eggs , 7 vol. in 2 plus Illustrations of British Birds, 4 vol., 1842-50 and [1835-51]. £5,000 to £7,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Dickens (Charles). <i>An Entirely New Romantic Drama, in Three Acts, by Mr. Wilkie Collins, called The Frozen Deep,</i> 1857. £3,000 to £4,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Lighthouses and Islands of Ireland, c. 125 drawings, 1867. £6,000 to £8,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Shelley (Lady Jane). Diary, 1853 & 1860. £1,500 to £2,000
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Scottish Binding.- The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments, bound in contemporary brown polished calf decorated with the figure of a Chinese spearman, by ?James Scott of Edinburgh, 1778. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Greene (Graham). <i>The Man Within,</i> first edition, signed by the author, 1929. £4,000 to £6,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Mellan (Claude, 1598-1688). The Holy Face, or the Veil of St Veronica, [c. 1649 and later]. £800 to £1,200
    <b>Forum Auctions: Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper. March 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Desaguliers (John Theophilus). <i>A Dissertation concerning Electricity,</i> W. Innys, and T. Longman, 1742. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Le Jeune (Paul). <i>Relation de se qui s'est passé en la Nouvelle France en l'anné 1636 enuoyée au R.Pere Provincial de la Compagnie de Iesus en la Province de France,</i> 1637. £2,000 to £3,000
    <b>Forum Auctions, Mar. 22:</b> Stumpf (Johann Rudolph). <i>Gemeiner loblicher Eydgnoschafft Stetten, Landen und Völckern Chronicwirdiger thaaten beschreibung, </i> Zurich, Froschauer, 1586. £3,000 to £4,000

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