Americana, Travel and Exploration at PBA Galleries

Berkeley, CA – On August 11, 2022, PBA Galleries will host a sale featuring over 450 lots of historically significant material about the history of the Americas and the vast expanses of the globe. Early exploration and settlement and the accompanying political conflicts, economic developments and societal clashes are revealed in the media of the sale. These include written stories, drawn and photographed prints, rare ephemera, and maps that chronicle the gradual revelation of unknown lands.

The deluxe manuscript edition of The writings of John Muir, is a highlight of the Americana section of the sale. Composed of 10 volumes in half-morocco and original canvas, it is one of 750 sets, and contains a manuscript sheet of The mountains of California bound to volume I. (Estimate: $5,000 to $8,000).

Another Americana highlight is an original ink and watercolor drawing of an African American family in a musical interlude with pets and children. A display of domestic life in the late 19th century, with illustrations on the back indicating that it is taken from an album leaf of the time. (Estimate: $1,500 to $2,500). An original gelatin silver photograph of workers carving the portraits of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln on Mount Rushmore from scaffolding also graces the auction. An inscription signed by the sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who orchestrated the project, is in the bottom center. (Estimate: $1,000 to $1,500).

A universal story, from the oldest tale of time, another offering, is a two-part work of 25 volumes, dated 1736-1765, compiled from the works of many authors, scholars, explorers and adventurers. Massive folio, with many plates and maps, it is one of the first attempts to situate the history of Europe in the rest of the world, and includes in particular the beginnings of European colonization. (Estimate: $4,000 to $6,000).

There are Memoir on the geography and natural and civil history of Florida, by William Darby, Assistant Surveyor for the United States. Published in 1821, just two years after the acquisition of Florida by the United States and containing a large and substantial folding map with three insets of Mobile Bay, Pensacola Bay and Espiritu Santo Bay with Tampa Bay. (Estimate: $3,000 to $5,000).

A highlight of the exploration is the first edition of the Commodore MC Perry’s Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the Seas of China and Japan. The 3 volumes are illustrated with tinted lithographed plates, engraved maps, wood-engraved star charts, and in particular a rare bare bath plate, as well as a signature of Perry. (Estimate: $2,500 to $3,500).

A standout lot from the map section of the sale is the “Graphic Chart” of San Francisco, by Frederick Marriot, which contains a key to 188 locations and is dedicated to major California and Pacific Coast interests. It was published by the San Francisco Newsletter in 1878 and is lithographed by Britton & Rey. (Estimate: $2,000 to $3,000).

Other notable offerings include a compilation of writings by Thomas Jefferson containing a facsimile of the draft Declaration of Independence, as well as a rare lithograph Bird’s Eye View of Asbury Park, NJ 1881by TM Fowler with 5 inset views of buildings and other features of what is most famous as the birthplace of Bruce Springsteen.

Comments are closed.