Image Courtesy of Swann Auction Galleries
New York— On Thursday, May 26, Swann Galleries will hold an auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books featuring scarce Dutch maps of Southeast Asia and a rare early atlas from the Muslim world.
Headlining the sale is an extremely scarce Dutch East India Company manuscript map on vellum of the Java Sea by cartographer Isaak de Graaf, depicting trade routes and ports, circa 1743 (estimate $180,000 to $220,000). The map – which comes from the collection of social entrepreneur, activist, and Dean’s Beans founder Dean Cycon – was possibly one of the last to be produced by de Graaf, and includes coastal profiles, reef delineations and extensive soundings. It was almost certainly used aboard a ship engaged in trade out of Batavia (now Jakarta). Other prominent maps in the sale include Johannes van Keulen’s Oost Indien, a hand-colored engraved sea chart of the Indian Ocean, Amsterdam, circa 1690 ($12,000 to $18,000).
The sale also features a fine selection of atlases, including the twelfth recorded complete copy of Mahmud Raif Efendi’s Cedid atlas tercümesi, 1803, perhaps the first folio world atlas published in the Muslim world. This will be the first time a copy of the atlas, which is widely understood to have been published in an edition of only fifty, will appear at auction. Another (incomplete) copy of the Cedid atlas made the news earlier this year when it was discovered in the collection of the National Library of Norway. The Cedid atlas is estimated at $40,000 to $60,000.
Other atlases in the sale include Thomas Jefferys’s The American Atlas, with twenty-three engraved maps, London, 1782 [but summer 1783]. Making this edition more notable is its status as the first national atlas issued after the Revolutionary War to proclaim the existence of the United States ($40,000 to $60,000). Additional maps and atlases related to America include Elihu Barker and Mathew Carey’s A Map of Kentucky from Actual Survey by Elihu Barker, Philadelphia, [circa 1794] ($10,000 to $15,000). The map, which hasn’t been seen at auction since 1922, is a milestone in the nascent cartography of the nation and an impressive feat, considering Kentucky was an unforgiving frontier at that point. Also included is a map after Jean Chevalier de Beaurain, Carte von dem Hafen und der Stadt Boston, a hand-colored engraved folding map of Boston during the American Revolution, Leipzig, 1776 ($10,000 to $15,000).
Also included in this sale is a selection political etchings, such as Isaac Cruikshank’s A Republican Beau and A Republican Belle, two 1794 hand-colored etchings, perhaps the most famous send-up of sans-culottespublished in England during the French Revolution ($1,000 to $1,500). English caricaturist and printmaker James Gillray’s The Plumb-pudding in danger, a hand-colored etching of Napoleon and Pitt carving up the globe, London, 1805, will also be featured ($8,000 to $12,000).
The sale concludes with natural history & color plate books, including one of the most famous natural history works of the 18th century, Maria Sibylla Merian’s Histoire générale des insects de Surinam et de toute l’Europe . . . Tome Premier, with the complete set of seventy-two hand-colored engraved plates, Paris, 1771 ($60,000 to $90,000). The complete seven-volume set of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America, with 500 hand-colored lithographed plates, New York and Philadelphia, [1839-44] ($30,000 to $50,000), will also be on offer.
The auction will be held Thursday, May 26, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public Saturday, May 21 from noon to 5 p.m.; Monday, May 23 through Wednesday, May 25 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, May 26 from 10 a.m. to noon.
An illustrated auction catalogue is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at www.swanngalleries.com.
For further information or to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact specialists Alex Clausen via firstname.lastname@example.org or Caleb Kiffer email@example.com or at 212-254-4710, ext. 17.
External Sources (provided by Passed Time for your pleasure):
A Map of Kentucky from Survey. Library of Congress
Audubon, John James. John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove.
Barker, Elihu: “Little is known concerning the life of Elihu Barker…. He was evidently an Englishman born who had good connections there as well as in America, and was particularly interested in the western country. His map of Kentucky… is by far the most accurate of the early maps of this State….-taken from Boston Rare Maps.com. They are not wrong. Not much can be turned up about Barker, except for his map.
Cedid Atlas. Norway's National Library Dicovers Rare Atlas--With a Little Help from Reddit. (provides some interesting facts about the Cedid)
Cruikshank, Isaac. An absolute must read by the Printshop Window.
Cycon, Dean. Dean's Beans.
de Graaf, Isaak. Maps of the World.com
Dutch East India Company. European-Heritage.org
Efendi, Mahmud Raif. Worldcat Identities.
Gillray, James. The Guardian, "Satire, sewers and statesmen: why James Gillray was king of the cartoon," by Martin Rowson
Jefferys, Thomas. Osher Map Library.
Merian, Maria Sibylla. Artist Whose Passion for Insects Changed Science. GrrlScientist for The Guardian