Audubons Lead Maps & Atlases at Swann with Original Work by John Woodhouse & Works from Birds of America by John James

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World cartography, Atlases & More

John Woodhouse Audubon, California Gray Squierrel, oil on canvas, 1853. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000.
John Woodhouse Audubon, California Gray Squierrel, oil on canvas, 1853. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000.

MAPS & ATLASES, NATURAL HISTORY & COLOR PLATE BOOKS

Sale 2555; December 17, 2020

Sale total: $686,256

Estimates for sale as a whole: $447,960–$676,440

We offered 405 lots; 374 sold (92% sell-through rate by lot)

All prices include Buyer’s Premium.

New York—Swann Galleries closed out 2020 with a marathon sale of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books on Thursday, December 17. “92% of the 405 lots hammered down, with about a third above estimate, participation numbers which exhibit a very interested, willing, and active market for this material,” said Specialist Caleb Kiffer. 

The star of the sale was an original 1853 oil painting of a California gray squirrel by John Woodhouse Audubon, the son of John James Audubon. The work came to auction after having descended through John Woodhouse’s family, and sold for $42,500. By John James Audubon was Night Heron or Qua Bird, 1835, from Birds of America, which brought $30,000. Additional natural history included William Jardine’s The Naturalist’s Library, 1843, complete with 40 volumes containing over 1,200 hand-colored engraved plates of animals, birds, fishes and insects, at $7,800.

Bernardus Sylvanus, Untitled World Map, Venice, 1511. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.
Bernardus Sylvanus, Untitled World Map, Venice, 1511. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.

Atlases and books with maps included Nicolas Sanson’s Atlas Nouveau, Paris, 1693, which brought $11,250; Arnoldus Montanus’s survey of the Americas, Die Unbekante Neue Welt oder Beschreibung des Welt-teils Amerika, Amsterdam, 1673, translated into German by Olfert Dapper, at $8,750; and Robert Laurie and James Whittle’s A New and Elegant Imperial Sheet Atlas, London, 1800, with $7,500.

“I was very pleased to close out the season with a strong sale of maps and atlases. Interest was wide-ranging with aggressive bidding from around the world on lots from the modest range to the more expensive. That’s one of my favorite aspects of curating these sales, offering collectors at any level of experience or means the chance to find an interesting piece which they would be happy to call their own,” concluded Kiffer of the sale. 

Swann is currently accepting quality consignments for the spring 2021 season. For the house’s most up-to-date auction schedule please visit swanngalleries.com.

Key:  C = Collector; D = Dealer

Additional highlights can be found here.

Captions:

Lot 346A: John Woodhouse Audubon, California Gray Squierrel, oil on canvas, 1853. Estimate $30,000 to $50,000.

Lot 241: Bernardus Sylvanus, Untitled World Map, Venice, 1511. Estimate $20,000 to $30,000.

Specialist: Caleb Kiffer • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 

Communications Director: Alexandra Nelson • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 19

Public Relations Associate: Kelsie Jankowski • [email protected] • 212-254-4710 x 23

Social media: @swanngalleries  

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ILLUSTRATED CATALOGUE, ADDL. IMAGES & COMPLETE PRICES REALIZED ON REQUEST

Swann Auction Galleries is a third-generation family business as well as the world’s largest auction house for works on paper. In the last 75 years, Swann has repeatedly revolutionized the trade with such innovations as the first U.S. auction dedicated to photographs and the world’s only department of African-American Fine Art. More than 30 auctions and previews are held annually in Swann Galleries’ two-floor exhibition space in Midtown Manhattan, and online worldwide. Visit swanngalleries.com for more information.

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James Ardis
James Ardis
Senior Writer and Editor

James Ardis is a writer, editor, and content strategist focused on the auction industry. His company, James Ardis Writing, has partnered with auction houses, galleries, and many clients outside the art world.

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