NEW YORK – Buckaroo Banzai, lead character of the eponymous 1984 cult movie, said, “No matter where you go, there you are.” A good map lets you identify exactly where you are, but it’s perfectly OK to treat maps purely as works of art, or as a reminder of good times enjoyed in great places. On April 27, starting at 8 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will stage a sale of 16th – 20th century antiquarian maps, selected by expert Steve Kovacs. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
Top lots in the sale include a black and white 1850 California map of Sacramento and the San Joaquin rivers. Described as a “large and scarce navigational chart,” it shows the waterways that connect Benicia, a town founded in 1847, to Suisun City. Of course, it also delivers a snapshot of California’s growth during the Gold Rush. The map measures just over 30 inches by almost 20 inches and is estimated at $350-$400.
An undated German-made map of the Middle East and India also carries an estimate of $350-$400. The name of the publisher is given as “Haack”–almost certainly Herman Haack, an editor who worked at the German company Justus Perthes in the early 20th century and earned fame for his ambitious series of what he called “large historic wall atlases.” Titled Der Orient und vorderindien, this map could well be one of those oversize “wall atlases;” it measures 66 inches high by 90 inches wide.
Also on offer, and also estimated at $350-$400, is a scarce, undated Russian map of Azerbaijan. Created to capture in detail an area that is a major producer of crude oil, its pleasing colors serve the no-nonsense function of contrasting the green deltas and river valleys with the blues of the depths of the seas and the orange of the rugged mountain terrain. It measures 28 inches high by 36 inches wide.
View top auction results on LiveAuctioneers here: https://www.liveauctioneers.com/pages/recent-auction-sales/