1822 Carey & Lea's "A Complete Historical, Chronological and Geographical American Atlas"
Appraised Value: $8,000 - $12,000
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:20)
Books & Manuscripts
Vice President, Specialist Books and Manuscripts
GUEST: These are two atlases which have been in my family for years and I inherited them when my grandmother died. I've always loved them since I was a child.
APPRAISER: Your grandmother had them?
APPRAISER: So the signature here is...?
GUEST: This is a distant relative of my grandmother's.
APPRAISER: So it's been in your family for quite some time.
GUEST: As far as I know, yes.
APPRAISER: What you brought-- let me turn to that page-- is Carey And Lea's American Atlas, and the full title is actually "A Complete Historical, Chronological and Geographical American Atlas." And what makes this very interesting is that it was published in Philadelphia in 1822, which makes it actually a first edition of this atlas. And let me turn to the first page, where you see the United States of America. You see almost the entire portion of the United States and, as you can figure, the East Coast is very detailed. You get a very good sense of, you know, Long Island, Philadelphia. Even Tennessee and Kentucky in the 1820s were already very well charted out. But on the other hand, the territories further out are, you know, just very vague. You get a few rivers. Most of the states out there aren't even established, so that makes it very interesting. With this map of New York, you have a very good idea how detailed everything was. And this is... we're talking about 1822. That's very early. It's an engraved map which then was colored by hand. At that time there was no color printing. And you get not only the map, but you get detailed descriptions of that state at that time. To turn to our last map I would like to show, that's a map of Missouri. And this is actually the first map of Missouri as a state.
GUEST: Oh, that's interesting.
APPRAISER: But again, there's hardly any settlement going on. There's a bit more going on along the river.
GUEST: Yes, that's fascinating.
APPRAISER: What is interesting about this book as well is that it is in its original binding or contemporary binding. You can see the spine, which is a leather binding, and you have the original boards. Do you have any idea what this atlas would be worth?
GUEST: None at all-- I've never had it appraised.
APPRAISER: Okay. In this complete form, which I would recommend to just preserve it the way it is, a conservative estimate at auction would be around $8,000 to $12,000.
GUEST: Wow! That's a lot more than I ever imagined.
APPRAISER: It is a fascinating atlas. These are more common-- the world atlases.
GUEST: Does this have much value?
APPRAISER: It's pretty much the American. The thing is, you see, Europe was much more charted out at that time.
GUEST: Yeah, precisely.
APPRAISER: But they belong with each other.
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