PBA Galleries auction Oct. 4 explores the world

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‘Typus Orbis Terrarum,’ world map, 1570. PBA Galleries image

SAN FRANCISCO – PBA Galleries will conduct an Americana – Travel & Exploration – World History – Cartography Sale on Thursday, Oct. 4. This auction will include over 500 lots of rare, unusual and significant material on the history, ethnology, geography, cartography, geology, natural history, and culture of the Americas and the world at large. Included are books, maps, prints, manuscripts, photographs and ephemera. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Highlighted in this sale is the first octavo edition of The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories, by John James Audubon. This ornithological masterpiece is perhaps the most important American color-plate book of the 19th century. Containing a total of 500 plates, this octavo is “the most extensive color plate book produced in America up to that time” (Reese). Shown for the first time are seven new species and 17 others, previously described in the Ornithological Biography but not illustrated (estimate $30,000-$50,000).

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‘Birds of America,’ 1st octavo edition, seven volumes, 1840-1844. PBA Galleries image

Ortelius’s 1570 world map is also offered in the upcoming auction. This was the first of three world maps that were featured in Typus Orbis Terrarum, and used for the first 16 editions. Ortelius’s world map has been described as a simplified one-sheet reduction of Mercator’s large world map which appeared the year before. It is known that Mercator generously encouraged Ortelius to make use of this published corpus of research. He also provided Ortelius with coordinates of places in America and perhaps elsewhere (est. $8,000-$12,000).

Additional highlights from the sale are McKenney and Hall’s Indian Tribes, one of the most costly and important works ever published on the American Indians. Everything is detailed and colored with care (est. $10,000-$15,000).

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McKenney & Hall’s ‘Indian Tribes,’ three volumes, 120 color plates. PBA Galleries image

Profiles in Courage written and inscribed by John F. Kennedy. This first edition is Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work (est. $4,000-$6,000). Currier and Ives’ hand-colored Snow Bound railroad scene (below) is one of the more sought after scenes. It displays an evening scene of a passenger train stopped while a dozen or so men shovel snow off the tracks (est. $3,000-$5,000). Geography rectified by Robert Morden includes 78 engraved maps of various parts of the world, six of what are now portions of the United States (est. $6,000-$9,000).

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Currier & Ives Snow Bound railroad scene, hand-colored lithograph, 1871. PBA Galleries image

PBA Galleries will offer material about firsthand experiences with exploration including a California Gold Rush diary from 1852. A manuscript journal kept by James M. Goss during a trip to California via the Isthmus of Panama in 1852, the diary documents his experiences in San Francisco and at the mines (est. $2,500- $3,500). Twenty-five volumes of An Astronomical Diary or an Almanack 1735–1759 by Nathaniel Ames. Ames was the publisher of the first American almanac, launched eight years before Benjamin Franklin put up Poor Richard’s shingle (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.