Massive 1700s atlas points way to PBA Galleries sale April 18

‘Atlas Universel’ from Robert de Vaugondy, superb large folio with full complement of 108 double-page hand-colored, engraved maps. PBA Galleries image

SAN FRANCISCO – On Thursday, April 18, PBA Galleries will offer a sale of Travel & Exploration, World History and Cartography. On the auction block, PBA has over 300 lots of scarce and significant material on travels to the far reaches of the globe, and the mapping of the geographic discoveries made. Included are maps, books, photographs and manuscripts, with an important selection of atlases and geographies and numerous individual maps from the 16th to 20th centuries. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The auction features rare atlases, both massive and miniature. A noteworthy lot is the large folio Atlas Universel (above) by Gilles and Didier Robert De Vaugondy (1757-1758). The superb copy includes the full complement of 108 double-page engraved maps hand-colored in outline and bound in period full mottled calf (est. $15,000-$25,000). On the other side of the scale spectrum, PBA offers a scarce copy of Abraham Ortelius’ Epitome Theatre Orbis Terrarum (1612), a charming miniature atlas (below) with 134 of the requisite 135 maps, lacking only that of Silesia (est. $5,000-$8,000).

Abraham Ortelius’ ‘Epitome Theatri Orbis Terrarum,’ 1612, a charming miniature atlas. PBA Galleries image

Scarce 17th and 18th century maps and travel narratives are well-represented in the auction. Of particular significance is Ptolemy’s Geographia (1621), edited by Giovanni Magnini and extended with the addition of 37 “modern” maps, including the inserted double-page reduced version of Rumold Mercator’s world map that is often lacking (est. $8,000-$12,000).

‘Ptolemy’s Geografia,’ 1621, edited by Geovanni Magnini includes the inserted double-page reduced version of Rumold Mercator’s world map that is often lacking. PBA Galleries image

From the 18th century, the four-volume first octavo edition of the account of Capt. James Cook’s third and final voyage (1784) is available: This edition includes two folding charts and 49 impeccable copperplate engravings (est. $2,000-$3,000). Other highlights from the period include A Journey from Gibraltar to Malaga by Francis Carter in two volumes (1777), which chronicles the author’s journey through Moorish Spain (est. $2,000-$3,000).

‘A Journey from Gibraltar to Malaga,’ by Francis Carter, two volumes, 1777, chronicling the author’s journey through Moorish Spain. PBA Galleries image

Other cartographic highlights include a brightly colored manuscript map of the world, perhaps of Turkish origin, with California depicted as an island and insets of the Strait of Gibraltar and the Sea of Marmara (est. $2,000-$3,000). From Girolamo Ruscelli’s 1561 edition of Ptolemy, the Orbis Descriptio (below) will be on the auction block. This map represents the first time a separate double-hemisphere world map had been used in an atlas, with striking later hand-coloring (est. $1,000-$1,500).

Double hemisphere world map by Ruscelli, circa 1561. PBA Galleries image

The auction not only features books and maps, but also presents artifacts and photographs. A geographical puzzle, circa. 1900, includes 90 wooden blocks combining to form some 18 maps, all set in the original wooden box (est. $1,000-$1,500). In travel photography, PBA offers a collection of 16 photographs relating to Ernest Shackleton’s Nimrod Expedition (1907-1909), plus a photograph of him with Queen Alexandra from 1914 (est. $3,000-$5,000).

The sale will begin at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, 2 p.m. Eastern. For more information contact PBA Galleries at 415-989-2665 or pba@pbagalleries.com.