PBA Galleries to host Rare Cartography Auction, Sept. 21

PBA Galleries cartography maps

John Hawkesworth 3-volume set, Cook’s First Voyage, published in London, 1773, est. $4,000-$6,000


SAN FRANCISCO – On Thursday, September 21, PBA Galleries will host a Rare Cartography Auction, with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers. The sale will also include Americana and Travel & Exploration subcategories.

Over 400 lots of rare and significant maps, books, manuscripts, photographs, ephemera and more are on offer. The maps range from an 18th-century chart of the Pacific Coast by the Spanish cartographer Miguel Costanso, to scarce real estate maps of a burgeoning California, rare bird’s-eye views, and more. There is much ephemera, many early booklets and pamphlets, rare original photographs of Alaska and elsewhere, and important books on the exploration and expansion of the American continent. Farther afield are scarce works on China, explorations in Central Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Ocean, antiquities of England and Europe, and views of far-off lands.

The First English edition of the official account of Lewis & Clark’s famous and most important expedition of exploration in U.S. history, Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and Across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean. Performed by Order of the Government of the United States, in the Years 1804, 1805, and 1806. By Captains Lewis and Clarke, is a high point of the sale. Derived from the journals of Lewis and Clark and other members of the expedition, the work is a rich mine of new information about a previously unexplored region. The folding map, “A Map of Lewis and Clark’s Track Across the Western Portion of North America, from the Mississippi to the Pacific, by Order of the Executive of the United States in 1804, 5 & 6,” is a close copy of the map in the American first edition of 1814, done on a finer quality paper. Estimate: $25,000-$30,000.

PBA Galleries cartography maps

First English edition of Lewis & Clark’s Travels to the Source of the Missouri River and Across the American Continent to the Pacific Ocean, published 1814, est. $25,000-$30,000


A rare 1792 German issue of Miguel Costanso’s landmark map of the California coast, copies the 1771 Spanish issue. This was the first map to show the San Francisco Bay. In addition to the Spanish and German editions, there is an English issue; all are rare with the German edition perhaps the rarest (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000).

PBA Galleries cartography maps

Rare German issue of Costanso’s map of California, published 1792, est. $6,000-$8,000


Another rare map of California, a bird’s-eye view of Santa Barbara, is also featured in the sale. The lithographed map from 1877 is surrounded by 29 vignettes of fine residences, hotels, businesses and public buildings in the city (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000).


PBA Galleries cartography maps

Rare bird’s-eye view of Santa Barbara, Calif., 1877, with 29 vignette views, est. $2,000-$3,000


A marvelously colorful pictorial map of Honolulu quite rare will also be offered. Published in 1927, the map is large and captivating with an inset of the Hawaiian Islands and pictorial features in vignettes surrounding the map (Estimate: $2,500-$3,500).


PBA Galleries cartography maps

Colorful pictorial map of Honolulu and the Sandwich Islands (now known as the Hawaiian Islands), 1927, published by Henry M. Snyder, est. $2,500-$3,500


An important archive of thirty-six letters and notes written by brothers John and Thomas Emery from California during the Gold Rush, to their family in New Brunswick, Canada, highlights the Americana section of the sale. The letters span three and a half years and present an insightful and uncommon perspective of the gold rush. The young men were only too eager to leave their difficult lives for the lure of quick and easy riches to be found in the Golden State, only to be faced with unforeseen hardships and futility. Estimate: $15,000-$25,000.

Other featured lots in the sale are David Burr’s New Universal Atlas (shown below), 1835, with 63 hand-colored copper-engraved maps, including 35 relating to the Americas (Estimate: $5,000-$8,000); the official account by John Hawksworth of James Cook’s first voyage of exploration to the Pacific Ocean (shown at top of page), in 3 volumes, 1773, with numerous maps and plates, (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000); a quite rare copy of The Child’s Anti-Slavery Book, 1859, revealing the complexity of family units under slavery and the efforts to protect the children (Estimate: $1,500-$2,500); and a color clipper ship sailing card for the fast ship Napier, “the Finest, Sharpest and Most Expensive Clipper ever built in the United States” (Estimate: $1,500-$2,500).


PBA Galleries cartography maps

Burr’s important A New Universal Atlas with 63 hand-colored, copper-engraved maps, some with insets; 1835, est. $5,000-$8,000


The sale will begin at 11:00 am Pacific Time / 2 p.m. Eastern Time. For more information, please contact the galleries at 415-989-2665 or email pba@pbagalleries.com.