Armenian Atlas Reaches $37,500 at New York Auction

Hovhannes Amira Dadian atlas from 1849 was on auction in New York
Hovhannes Amira Dadian atlas from 1849 was on auction in New York

Hovhannes Amira Dadian atlas from 1849 was on auction in New York

NEW YORK (Fine Books Magazine)—On June 7, Swann Galleries’ held its biannual auction of Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books. Approximately two thirds of the lots offered fell into the category of maps and atlases, with strong results in both subheadings. Of the 265 lots, 86 percent found buyers, exceeding the low estimate for the section by more than $100,000.

The first world atlas in the Armenian language topped the sale, reaching more than five times its $6,000 high estimate to sell for $37,500, a record for the work. Hovhannes Amira Dadian created the atlas in the Armenian monastery on the Venetian island of San Lazzaro in 1849 in an effort to bring Western knowledge to his home country. The atlas boasts ten hand-colored double-page maps, including one of the solar system, all of which were printed in Paris and based primarily on contemporary French models.

Another highlight was the Speciel Land Charte von Pensilvanien, Neu Jersey, Neu York, a 1750 map by Lewis Evans published in Frankfurt, whose alluring designations such as “The Endless Mountains” may have been responsible for the subsequent German emigration to the state. The map sold for $27,500, far exceeding its high estimate of $15,000. The only other known copy is in the collection of the Library of Congress.

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