Appraisal Video: (3:27)
Prints & Posters
The Philadelphia Print Shop West
GUEST: When I was living in Connecticut I was teaching ice skating, and one of my student's dad... we became real good friends and found out he was a treasure hunter and he'd gotten a map from the archives of England. And it's a... from what I understand, it's a map that's for shipping lanes, and he wanted to see where he could find some buried treasure.
APPRAISER: The history doesn't really have anything to do with buried treasure, but it's a fascinating history. This map was issued, and as it says down here, in 1775. And, of course, crucial date for the American Revolution, the beginning of the American Revolution. But for the history of this, you have to go back further, because this map had its roots in the French and Indian War.
GUEST: Oh, wow.
APPRAISER: Because in 1763, at the end of the French-Indian War, the British essentially took over almost all of North America, at least east of the Mississippi.
APPRAISER: So the British wanted to find out exactly what they had, and they did a whole series of surveys that were done in the middle of the 18th century.
GUEST: I'll be darned.
APPRAISER: These surveys were sent to England where a man named Thomas Jefferys, who is the geographer to the British king, decided he would put together an atlas with all these maps.
APPRAISER: It came out in 1775, one of the great, great American atlases that included wonderful maps like this one, from all the way up in Canada, up to St. Lawrence and on down to the tip of Florida, which is what we have down here.
APPRAISER: And each of these maps was based on the latest and greatest surveys.
GUEST: Oh wow.
APPRAISER: Now, Florida at that time, of course, there was really no settlement inland, but Florida was very important for the sea lanes. And as you can see, if you go along the coast, you not only have compass bearings, but you have all the depths and things like that. And you have things like shoals up here to avoid. And this was crucial information for traders who would go down to the Bahamas, which are shown down here, and further down to the West Indies to the south. So this is one of the maps in that great atlas. They're quite rare because 1775 is a long time ago, they're very important for American history, and, of course, it came out right at the beginning of the war. So these are really the maps that the British forces and the American forces used during the war when they were trying to plot where they would sail or where they would march their armies. They used the maps from this atlas. There was actually another sheet that showed West Florida, which would be the Gulf Coast, but this is a little bit more the desirable maps. Now, what would you think a map like this might be worth?
GUEST: Well, I was thinking maybe about a hundred.
APPRAISER: (laughs) It's worth more than that. Now, it's not in great shape. You can see in here you have some foxing, some stains, and things like that.
APPRAISER: And that's a real problem, but it can be fixed up. This map, in this condition, in a shop, would probably sell for around $2,200 to $2,300.
GUEST: Really? Wow.
APPRAISER: Yeah, so a fair bit. Now, if you fixed it up, it would probably cost you about $500, $600. You could add that value on, so really you have a map in perfect shape that has a retail value about $2,800.
GUEST: Wow, isn't that something?
APPRAISER: So it is not a treasure map, but it is a treasure from American history.
GUEST: Ain't that something, I never realized that. Thank you very much. All this time I thought it was for sunken treasure. (laughs)