AUCTIONS

Sotheby's

The Frank T.Seibert Library, Part II


Mediterranean and The Middle East Travel
&
Library of Robert Michael Burrell

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Sotheby's New York: The Frank T. Siebert Library of the North American Indian & The American Frontier
Part II, Thursday, October 28th 1999
Prices are given in US$, and exclude the buyers' premium, which "is 15% of the successful bid price up to and including $50,000, and 10% on any amount in excess of $50,000" (on sale day, Sotheby's gave the exchange rate with the GB Pound as £1 - $1.58).
The Siebert collection is one of the most important collections of Americana to have been assembled, described in the Introduction to Part I as "probably the last great collection of Americana to chronicle and follow the frontier across our continent. ..."

The dispersal of  this great collection provided once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to purchase notable rarities.  The first part of the Siebert sale saw record prices set for many items and, indeed, set a new general benchmark for prices.  The second part was equally successful, as will be seen.  This part, seemingly had a much greater concentration of books with maps, albeit with not so many highlights as  Part I, so this review will necessarily be very selective.

This discussion of map-related lots will follow the geographical groups used in Part II, commencing with books relating to the South.  The opening lot, 549, was the very rare French edition of Thomas Hariot's Virgina, published by Theodore de Bry.  This was the first de Bry edition of Hariot's text, and the first to contain the White map of Virginia (the map apparently in very good condition) and with the plates depicting Virginian Indians and other scenes.  In terms of what had happened in Part I, the estimate of $50,000-70,000 seemed reasonable, but the lot failed to dent the low estimate, selling for $45,000.

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Hariot: 549
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Lot 552 was John Smith's Generall Historie, the First Edition, First Issue, complete with the four folding engraved maps: New England, Virginia, 'Ould Virginia' and Bermuda.  This important volume, bringing together various of Smith's reports on the English colonies in the Americas, is described as "the foundation of England's knowledge of America during the early period of colonization". Estimated at $35,000-50,000, it sold for $90,000.
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Smith: 552
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One of the rarest of the early books on the Carolinas is John Lederer's Discoveries ... In Three Several Marches from Virginia, published in London in 1672. Lederer explored the interior of the Carolinas, reaching the foot of the Appalachians. This account, with a map of his discoveries, proved very influential, and several of the misconceptions he perpetrated quickly found their way into the mainstream of English cartography.  Lot 553, previously in the Streeter Collection, was estimated at a low $25,000-35,000 (in the Streeter sale, in 1967, the volume fetched $5,250), and so it proved as the bidding ended at $120,000.
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Lederer: 553
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Offered as lot 556 was Samuel Wilson's Account of the Province of Carolina;  the account is a scarce promotional tract for the Carolinas, and can be found in one of three forms: without a map, or with one of two maps bound in, this frequent enough to suggest that the publisher offered these options to all purchasers of the volume.  Again estimated relatively low ($8,000-12,000), but in the event the volume reached only $16,000.

One explanation may be confusion introduced by the cataloguer in the footnote, relating to the map contained, the so-called 'First Lords Proprietors' map, engraved by James Moxon.  The cataloguer wrote: "This map ... is sometimes found bound into copies of John Ogilby's America, London, 1671, but these are artefacts of later book dealers and collectors. Moxon's map is based on the Carolina map engraved by Francis Lamb, included in John Speed ... The original publisher and publication form of the Moxon map remain a mystery".

In fact, there is no doubt that John Ogilby was the publisher of the map, which was prepared by him, and included as intended, in late gathered issues of the America (other original English maps were added in the same way) and consequently, the Ogilby-Moxon map is the source for Lamb's map, and not the other way round.

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Wilson: 556
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Two lots that could have been expected to do better were the two examples of John Lawson's A New Voyage to Carolina, both First Editions published in 1709 (lots 562 and 563), but later issues, sold as separate volumes, rather than as part of John Stevens collection of travel accounts.  Again, some confusion arises from the cataloguing.  The volume contains a folding map, an untitled map of the Carolinas prepared by Lawson, but in the catalogue the maps were described as "Part of North America", an irrelevant label found in the body of the map.  The first example was estimated at $10,000-15,000, and the second $12,000-18,000, but they sold respectively for $7,500 and $8,500.

Daniel Coxe's Description of the English Province of Carolina (lot 568) is one man's attempt to claim vast areas of the South for his father, on the basis of a land grant made by Charles I to Sir Robert Heath in 1629.  The volume is also one of the earliest (if not the earliest) to propose some form of federation for the English colonies in the Americas.  The example offered, the First Edition of 1722, sold for $17,000 (estimate $4,000-6,000).

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Coxe: 568
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General James Oglethorpe's unsuccessful invasion of Florida in 1741, gave rise to a bitterly critical pamphlet, Impartial Account of the Late Expedition against St. Augustine Under General Oglethorpe by James Kilpatrick, published in London in 1742, illustrated with a map, in two sections showing the Florida coast, centred on St. Augustine, and a detailed depiction of St. Augustine and immediate environs.  This English map, engraved by William Henry Toms, was copied from the map issued in the South Carolina Assembly's report into the invasion, drawn by P. Harrison.  Lot 574 was estimated at $8,000-12,000 and fetched $16,000.
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Kirkpatrick: 574
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Lot 582 was one of the most important maps of the Carolinas,  John Collet's 'Compleat Map Of North Carolina', published in London in 1770.  While a notable rarity, the cataloguer wrote: "No other copy has come up at auction since Streeter", overlooking the example sold by Sotheby's at their Syon Park sale, May 14th-16th 1997, lot 352.  Had the cataloguer been aware of that copy, he might have put a higher estimate than the rather paltry $4,000-6,000 he plumped for, as the winning bid was $50,000.

The collection included a strong selection of items relating to Florida, and to the Seminole wars.  One of the more interesting items was an account of the court-martial of Major William Gates (lot 656), for allegedly not doing enough to help wounded American soldiers left outside the stockade of Fort Barnwell, after a Seminole attack.  The Major was subsequently acquitted, when it was shown that the wounded had all died in the attack, and the moaning coming from outside the stockade was a Seminole ruse to lure out part of the garrison.  A double-page map showed the position of the fort on the St. Johns River, in the middle of a clearing.  Estimated at $2,500-3,500, the item sold for $8,000.

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The second section of the sale was entitled 'The West', and related principally to Louisiana, and the Mississippi Valley.  The first lot, 659 was Melchisidech Thevenot's collection of travel accounts, Receuil de Voyages.  As an Americana item, it contains the first printed map of the Mississippi River valley, a map notable also as the first to name Lake Michigan.  The other engraved map (and the one illustrated in the catalogue) is the first devoted to Australia, showing the discoveries of Abel Tasman.  The lot fetched $70,000 (estimate $18,000-25,000).

There then followed a good selection of editions of Louis Hennepin's work. Lot 660 was his Description de la Louisiane, published in 1683, with a large folding engraved map of North America, apparently the first printed map to name Louisiana.  Hennepin's travels in North America were described in his Nouvelle Description d'un tres grand Pais Situé dans Amerique.  Lot 661 was Guillaume Broedelet's edition of 1697, with 2 folding maps, accompanied by Antoine Schouten's printing of Hennepin's Nouveau Voyage ... (1698), which sold for $11,000 (estimate $8,000-12,000). The next lot, the First English edition fetched $8,000, against an estimate of $4,000-6,000.

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Thevenot: 659
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Also on offer were the French and English editions of Henri Joutel's Journal Historique du dernier Voyage que feu M. de la Sale fit, both illustrated with a map of North America. The French edition, the first, was published in 1713, and the English the following year. The French (lot 669) was estimated at $6,000-8,000, the English, the following lot at $8,000-12,000, and respectively fetched $12,000 and $16,000.

Herman Moll's famous map of the 'North Parts of America claimed by France...', one of the earliest shots in the cartographic war over the rival English and French claims was lot 673.  This example, in later hand-colour, was trimmed to the border, but did not show the usual problems with the vertical folds.  It sold for $6,000, on an estimate of $1,500-2,000.

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Moll: 673
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A small section was devoted to Texas, one collecting area that is going from strength to strength.  The first lot, 933 was the First Edition of the first book devoted to Texas, Juan Antonio de la Peña's Derrotero de la Expedicion en la Provincia de los Texas ..., published in Mexico City in 1722, containing engraved plans of four praesidios, and a manuscript map of 'Carta de la Bahia del Espiritu Santo'. This example was one of nine recorded copies, and one of three with the manuscript (although the book and map were acquired separately).  Its rarity was evident, and required a winning bid of $100,000, against an estimate of $60,000-80,000.

Lot 942 was James Young's map of Texas, issued on the eve of the Texas Revolution, in 1835. The map also contained important information for would-be settlers in the region. In original colour, folded into the original boards, it looked a nice example. What seemed a high reserve, $7,000-10,000 didn't deter purchasers, with the winning bid being $27,500.  More was to come -Francis Moore Jr., to be precise. Lot 952, his Map and Description of Texas, a small volume, contained a folding map of Texas, by Stephen Austin, revised and updated, and seven plates, published in 1840.  Estimated at $8,000-12,000, it generated great interest, finishing at $75,000.

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Young: 942
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Described as the finest map of Texas of the period, lot 957 offered Robert Creuzbar's 'Map Of The State of Texas', published in 1849, noted as one of three known examples.  A folding map, in original colour, there was evidence of the original folds, and some glue staining, it was perhaps not the "superb condition" noted in the catalogue, but again rarity counted, and the lowly estimate $8,000-12,000 was easily exceeded, as the map sold for $85,000.
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Creuzbaur: 957
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The sale continued with accounts of Indian captivities, Indian dictionaries, and treaties.  All fascinating, and worthy of review but, alas, not here.
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