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Cartophilia:

noun, 1. The love of maps

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Fig. 1 (above): "Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia. ceded by the States of Virginia and Maryland to the United States of America, and by them established as the Seat of their Government after the Year. MDCCC," drawing by Andrew Ellicott. Engraved and printed by Thakara and Valance, Phila., PA. in 1792. 29 inches wide X 21 1/4 inches tall; framed - 39 1/2 inches wide X 32 1/4 inches tall.

A simple word for a complex and storied hobby. Maps chart your local area, city, state and country. Maps depict the globe and the night skies. Maps chart land, lives and even history. The history of cartography dates to about 25,000BCE with a mammoth tusk engraved with local features discovered in Pavlov, Czechoslovakia; celestial charts dating to around 14,500 BCE were discovered in Lascaux caves in France. The Greek mathematician and geographer Eratosthenes was known to have created parchment and ink maps by 195 BCE. Mapmaking reached new heights during the Renaissance with the use of first woodblock, then copper plate engraving, often incorporating fanciful artistic details and hand-coloring relying more on artistic license than fact. By the 17th century, maps had begun to reflect a more accurate representation of the world using scientific methods.

People collect maps to explore their world, chart travel, create visual travelogues. Maps are collected by people in the local area depicted, for their history and some for their sheer beauty. This October, Oakridge is pleased to present a fine collection of maps pertaining to the Washington, DC tri-state region with an emphasis on the District of Columbia. The earliest map in the collection is a fine example of a Nova Virginiae Tabula map by Henricus Hondius (1597-1651); the map itself is undated but was published circa 1633, and with an auction estimate at $800 - $1,200. This map is the 5th derivative of John Smith's 1612 map of Virginia, which was the first printed map of the Chesapeake Bay and the first to assign names to topographical features.[1]

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 Fig. 2 & 3: Details of "Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia. ceded by the States of Virginia and Maryland to the United States of America, and by them established as the Seat of their Government after the Year. MDCCC," drawing by Andrew Ellicott. Engraved and printed by Thakara and Valance, Phila., PA. in 1792. 29 inches wide X 21 1/4 inches tall; framed - 39 1/2 inches wide X 32 1/4 inches tall.

The collection also includes a 1st-edition, 1822 Copperplate Map of Washington, DC drawn by F. Lucas Jr. and engraved by Young & Delleker, from Carey and Lea's "A Complete Historical, Chronological, and Geographical American Atlas." The map itself is fairly famous, depicting the original diamond-shaped District of Columbia, while the surrounding text describes the climate, history, government and commerce of the area. We have a presale estimate on this map of $300 - $400, but the collection includes a wide range of 9th century – particularly Civil War era – maps of DC with estimates ranging from $150.00 - $300.00.

The featured map from this collection is a rare, 1792 Ellicott / Thackara & Vallance Map of DC. (First Official Plan of Washington D.C.)  by Andrew Ellicott, engraved and printed by Thakara and Valance, Phila., PA in 1792. The text reads “Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia. ceded by the States of Virginia and Maryland to the United States of America, and by them established as the Seat of their Government after the Year. MDCCC;” this outstanding example of a highly collectible 18th century map is being listed with a conservative estimate of $3,000 - $4,000, but who can say where the final hammer price will be found?

A cartophiliac, of course.  




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About the Author

Keith Spurgeon brings over 35 years of experience in antiques and auctions to Oakridge Auction Gallery, as a professional dealer, auction company co-owner, owner, and consultant for other auction houses. The author of several published industry articles, Mr. Spurgeon conducted the appraisal of the contents of the historic Barbara Fritchie house in Frederick, MD. He is also an avid collector of antique toys and has a particular interest in items related to American history.




[1] Literature: Burden, The Mapping of North America 228, state 1; Koeman, Atlantes Neelandici Me 31 A #72; Taylor, American Colonies, p. 125-132; Verner, 165-166.




Keith Spurgeon

Mon, Jul 29, 2019 2:23 PM

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