Rare map of Florida Keys sells for $38,640

A rare first edition chart of the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas (a small group of islands located just off the Florida Keys) sold for $38,640 in an online auction held Nov. 21-Dec. 5 by Old World Auctions. It was the top seller of 925 lots sold in the auction.


The map, published in 1790, was based on surveys conducted by George Gauld from 1773-1775. Gauld had been assigned by the British Admiralty to chart the waters off West Florida.

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First edition of a chart depicting the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas, by George Gauld, 1790 ($38,640).

The map carried a presale estimate of $7,000-$9,000. It more than quadrupled that amount, and the trend continued with the second top lot, a 1644 sea chart of Europe and the eastern Atlantic by Anthonie Jacobsz. That map exceeded its high estimate of $2,500 to finish at $17,360.

“This was one of our best sales of last year, one that was filled with uncommon maps that garnered much attention,” said Diane Kelly, map specialist for Old World Auctions. Brion de la Tour QU 2-1.jpg“Many rare examples soared past their high estimates.”

Additional highlights from the sale follow. All prices quoted include a 12 percent buyer’s premium.

This important Revolutionary War map of the southeastern United States, dated 1782 and created by Brion de la Tour, will be sold at Auction #123, Feb. 1-20.

A 19th century woodblock map of China, featuring the Great Wall, gaveled for $1,904. The piece carried a presale high estimate of just $300, but was the object of intense bidder interest. The map shows the ocean and an extensive network of mountains and rivers. The simple title, Map of China, is shown in Chinese characters.

Early jigsaw puzzle maps also garnered much attention. A John Wallis puzzle map from 1813, titled Laurie & Whittle’s New General Map of America, still in its original mahogany box decorated with the label signed by Anthonie Jacobsz QU 2-1.jpgWallis himself, achieved $1,344. Another jigsaw puzzle map, titled The Dissected Map of the United States and Territories, executed by J.H. Colton in 1865, realized $504.

Scarce and handsome map of Europe and the eastern Atlantic, executed by Anthonie Jacobsz in 1644 ($17,360).

Old World Auctions’ next sale will be previewed at the Miami Map Fair, Feb. 2-3 at the History Museum of Southern Florida in Miami. For more information visit www.OldWorldAuctions.com. Phone is 800-664-7757, and e-mail address is info@OldWorldAuctions.com.