Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - March - 2008 Issue

Maps, Atlases and Views from Donald Heald Rare Books


Maps, Atlases and Views from Donald Heald Rare Books.

By Michael Stillman

We recently received a spectacular catalogue of Maps, Atlases and Views from Donald Heald Rare Books of New York. This is a collection of antiquarian works which depict a changing world, as new discoveries brought greater understanding of the unknown. Some maps are surprisingly accurate considering the difficulty in obtaining accurate information; others make you wonder what people thought they saw. The greatest concentration in this catalogue is of maps pertaining to North America, though there are others depicting the eastern hemisphere or the whole world. Offered are some of the rarest and most important of maps and atlases, for those who collect on the highest level. Here are a few.

Item 68 is likely the best map of North America for its time -- 1650. It is Nicolas Sanson's Amerique Septentrionale. Sanson had access to the just published Jesuit Relations of the French missionaries to help understand some of the inland territory otherwise unknown. This was the first map to name Lake Ontario and Lake Superior. It also shows Montreal, at the time less than a decade old. It does depict an imaginary inland strait running from Hudson's Bay into the interior Northwest. This referenced a hoped for a Northwest Passage. However, the Northwest is all a blank, as Sanson did not attempt to invent features for territories still uncharted. Other named places include New Amsterdam, now New York, and New Sweden, now Wilmington, Delaware. To the southwest, Sanson used data gained by the Spanish, this being the first map to list Santa Fe. California, as was the case through most of the 17th century, is depicted as an island. Map priced at $7,500.

There would be a major advance in the mapping of North America with America Settentrionale...anno 1688 (this version published in 1690 or later). This map was created by the Venetian friar Vincenzo Coronelli. In this map, the Great Lakes are no longer just there, but depicted with surprising accuracy. The American Southwest now appears in much greater detail, though the Northwest remains unknown. The Mississippi is shown with reasonable accuracy except for one large mistake. Coronelli used La Salle's inaccurate description, moving the river 600 miles to the west. The mouth ends up in South Texas. And, California is still an island. Item 12. $22,000.

Item 2 is a map of when Texas was even bigger than Texas. It is the John Arrowsmith Map of Texas, from 1841, when the state was still an independent republic. East and South Texas are similar, but West Texas and the Panhandle are another story. Texas encompassed much of present-day Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado. A small arm even winds its way into today's Wyoming. Texas would shrink to its current size as a result of the Compromise of 1850, where anti-slavery northerners would demand reduced boundaries to allow the slave state to enter the Union. $27,500.

Item 11 consists of a collection of seven early manuscript surveys of western North Carolina. They were created by William Churton in 1752. Churton was the surveyor for John Carteret, a wealthy landowner and British nobleman, who had agreed to sell up to 100,000 acres of land to the Moravian Church. The Moravian Bishop and five others set out for the frontier to participate in the survey, and ultimately the land was purchased. The area is located near today's Winston-Salem. Churton's surveys would be used to generate several later maps. $85,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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