"Incrredible maps coming up at Bonhams in London and Swann in New York.On Tuesday June 7, 2011 5 spectacular manuscript maps some on paper and some on vellum will be sold by Bonhams in London, lot 46 - a map of Pownall, MA drawn by Thomas Johnston, lot 47 - a manuscript map of Penobscot Bay in Maine, lot 48 - a manuscript map of Mount Desert Island, lot 49 - a manuscript map from Boston to Newburyport and lot 50 - a manuscript road map from from St. Stephen's River to Fort St. George in Massachusetts!
Manuscript maps of this quality by major cartographers rarely come on the market.
Considering that a scrap illustrating the battle of Yorktown sold for $1,150,000 a few years ago, the estimates on these masterpieces seem very low. They range in the 3000 pound to 15000 pound range. My guess is that they will go for 10 times this.
Buying the original templates of engraved maps has long been a consuming passion.
Well, let's see indeed. Did my predictions come true or not.
The first lot in the group was #46 - a manuscript plan of Pownall with the finest asymmetric, rococo cartouche drawn in America in the 18th century. The artist was Thomas Johnston who was was America's finest artist at the close of the French and Indian War (1763.) The estimate was 15 to 20,000 pounds. My cost was 59,520 pounds. Ok - 4 times the low estimate. But still NOT 10 times as predicted!!! It is offered for a 40% profit.
The next lot - #47 was glorious. Probably was drawn by some of the incredibly talented British officers who beat the French wresting North America away from Louis XV. He chose to be entertained by the most beautiful woman of all time - Madame de Pompadour - at Versailles instead of fighting for the third of North American that his great grandfather had secured for him by the time of his death in 1715.
This was a year before George I started the Georgian Age in England with his assention and who grandfathered a man who would rule England erratically from 1760 to 1820.
The map sold for 84,000 pounds with my bid the last one before someone else made a terrific buy. The estimate was 15,000 to 20,000 pounds. So again my prediction of 10 times was wrong again. But still close to 6 times the low estimate.
Next came a spectacular manuscript map of Six Townships Laid out on the East Side of Mount Desaert Island. This is where very, very, very fancy people live today. Hard to think of a more beautiful island anywhere. It certainly captivates America's greatest artist - Frederic Edwin Church. His paintings of that Island sell for $6,000,000 a piece today. So on an Island bubbling over with people like Martha Stewart pretending to be WASPS it was not surprise that my cost was 62,000 pounds. Here my prediction was right on as the estimate was 5000 to 7000 pounds. My requested profit is 20% for this foundation cartographic document of the Island.
Lot 49 was a very fine road map from Boston to Penobscot Bay. It sold for 50,400 against an estimate of 3000 to 5000 pounds. It slipped by me but someone has to pay 17 times the low estimate. OUCH.
And lot 50 - another incredibly important road map from Boston to Portland - probably the first road map drawn in North Americas was acquired by Arader Galleries for 50,400 pounds against an estimate of 3000 to 5000 pounds again 17 times the low estimate. OUCH but still a masterpiece and well worth it. A 10% profit seems right
So for all maps the total low estimate was 41,000 pounds. The total realized prices were 302,400!!! - an average of 7.5 times. Considering that only people with severe Alzheimer's or dementia know that they can be represented by me for no fee, seems to me that my predictive powers are pretty good.
All are welcome to Arader Galleries to see these masterpieces at anytime along with the world's only significant stock of manuscript and engraved maps.