At Swann Galleries (25/20/12% buyer’s premium) an 1853 oil painting of a Californian grey squirrel by John Woodhouse Audubon, son of the great Birds of America man – and sent to auction by a descendant – was one of them.
It was the maps, however, that played a particularly prominent role in this sale and the most expensive of them was an untitled woodcut world map on a cordiform projection by Bernardus Sylvanus, printed in Venice in 1511.
Slightly stained and worn, but restored and an example of one of the earlier New World maps nowadays attainable by collectors, it features hachuring around the land masses to add depth and, said the cataloguer, has an enhanced interior choked with mountains and rivers systems.
Moveable type was used to separately print the red lettering. Ronald Shirley in his monumental study of The Mapping of the World… notes that all these features, “together with the decorative windheads, zodiacal signs, and distinctive heart-shaped projection, make this a most striking representation”.
Los Angeles planned out
Bid to $5800 (£4295) was a very different and much later cartographic rarity, a folding pocket Map of the Central Part of the City of Los Angeles…, which when bookseller and stationer Simon Stoll & JS Thayer issued it in 1886 was a city of only relatively modest size.