Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2010 Issue

Antique Maps from Jonathan Potter Ltd.

Pottersummer2010

Antiques maps from Jonathan Potter, Ltd.


By Michael Stillman

For the summer of 2010, London map seller Jonathan Potter Ltd., has issued the very appropriately titled catalogue A Selection of Antique Maps from Jonathan Potter. This is a collection both wide and deep. It includes maps from all over the world, or of the whole world, along with various related and ephemeral items, such as globes, catalogues of maps, and even a game. There is no shortage of material to choose from, there being 500 items included.

Potter begins by pointing to the map exhibition currently on display at the British Library, noting, "...all the maps displayed at the British Library are priceless. However, at Jonathan Potter Limited all our maps are priced and many are just as interesting!" Now, unlike the unpriced copies at the British Library, any of these can be yours. Here are some suggestions.

We will start at the beginning, both for maps and for this catalogue. Item 1 is a map of the world from Hartmann Schedel's famed Nuremberg Chronicle. This is sort of a last look at the world as it had been known for a couple of millennia. It is the classical trapezoidal Ptolemaic look at the globe. It was published in 1493, the year Columbus first returned with news of the New World. However, in this map, there is still no New World, no America. Europe is recognizable, central Asia and northern Africa reasonably accurate. Southern Africa is strange, western Asia, like the Americas, nonexistent, and the Indian Ocean is sealed in by a bordering landmass that runs from southern Africa to western Asia. All of this would be making some vast changes, and soon, as Columbus and other explorers told of the lands they found. Priced at £14,000 (British pounds, or roughly $21,340 in U.S. currency).

A century later, in 1588, Sebastian Petri was publishing a later edition of Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia, which contained this map of the world. Now all of the major landmasses save for Australia are depicted in their entirety. Still, North America is a very wide continent, as big as Asia, while South America is an amorphously shaped blob. Added is a vast southern continent taking up almost a quarter of the globe. One look at this huge imaginary land helps us to understand why Captain Cook's discovery two centuries later, that there was no vast southern continent, was such a major finding. Item 3. £4,000 (US $6,097).

Here is a world map that is surprising by western eyes, we being so used to seeing the world from our own vantage point. It is the Chikyu Bankoku Hozu (Japanese World Map). At the center of this map is not Europe or America, but Japan, small though it is. It was published in 1853, just as Commodore Perry was forcing Japan to open its doors to the world. While the outlines of the continents are reasonably accurate, the Japanese weren't quite up on political geography, missing the fact that the British had ceded Oregon to America seven years earlier. £3,200 (US $4,880).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
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    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
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    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Automaton Chess Player & Mechanical Illusion.- Reynell (H., printer). “The Famous Chess-Player, No.14, St.James's-Street, next Brooks's,” broadside advertisement for "The famous Automaton", [1784]. £2,000 to £3,000
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    <b>Forum Auctions, Sep. 26:</b> Anatomical illustration.- Aselli (Gaspare). <i>De lactibus sive lacteis venis... dissertatio,</i> first edition, Milan, Giovanni Battista Bidelli, 1627. £20,000 to £30,000
  • <center><b>Chiswick Auctions<br>Books & Works on Paper<br>September 25, 2019</b>
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