1882 Map of Georgia Gold Region

Value (2008) | $1,200 Retail$1,400 Retail

GUEST:
We live in a home that was built in 1837 that's some property from, uh, the Georgia land grants. And when we remodeled it, we found this map in a box of letters, and unfolded it and just went wild, because the first gold rush was in Dahlonega, Georgia, which is adjacent to our county. And I know the map is 1882, and the gold rush was 1839, but we still thought it was just wonderful, and framed it to put on our wall.

APPRAISER:
Okay, so this is northern Georgia.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And in the 1830s, they discovered gold there.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And tell me a little bit about the gold rush.

GUEST:
It was the first gold rush in America, and actually, one of the first mints is in Dahlonega, Georgia. There are lot of still active mines in the area. You can even tour them.

APPRAISER:
Okay, so the gold in that area continued right through to the present day?

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
Okay.

GUEST:
But it was kind of playing out when the California gold rush started, so a lot of the men left Dahlonega and went out west. 'Cause our family did, too.

APPRAISER:
Now you live in the family home, and this was found in that home.

GUEST:
In the house.

APPRAISER:
So, you know who owned it?

GUEST:
I'm thinking my great-grandfather.

APPRAISER:
And as you pointed out, it's from 1882.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
And what it does is it shows the lottery lands up there.

GUEST:
Yes, yes. The property lands.

APPRAISER:
And here we have a table which mentions all the lots, and you can see all the very small rectangles, which were lots.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm. Right, right.

APPRAISER:
So, it's a property map, and it was used by people to know where the properties were...

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
...so that they could buy them. It is not in great shape.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
It's also not particularly what we call beautiful. I mean, I...

GUEST:
Oh! (both laughing)

APPRAISER:
Well, I'm a map geek.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
I love maps, and to me, this was great when I saw it visually. But a lot of people buy maps because they've got sea monsters in it, or wind roses, or pretty color.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
And obviously, no map person is gonna buy this because of its beauty. But the two values of maps are their attractiveness and their history. And it doesn't get better than this in history.

GUEST:
Oh, good.

APPRAISER:
Very locally-focused history, mind you.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
In your county. And the gold area and the property in your county.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
But for that, it's as immediate as you get. This was a map. Clearly, it was used... For.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
I mean, you've got somebody was-was making out the lots.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Maybe they were thinking of buying them. Or somebody owned them, and they wanted to see where it was.

GUEST:
Right.

APPRAISER:
You know, for whatever reason.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
It was a map that was used. It was used in a specific area, and that's what people like. And that does give it quite a bit of value.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Despite the condition.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Despite the fact it's not that attractive. This would have been a wall matte. Possibly could have been folded or rolled up.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
Typical of that, they would print it on paper, and in order to preserve it, it was mounted to the linen. And you see that up here, where, of course, it is lifting up. You had this framed by a conservator who knows what he's doing. Right?

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
You did it very well. It's sewn on to an acid-free backing. It's got glass on it that filters out the ultraviolet light.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
The paper has probably some acid in it. You can see here it's starting to get a bit yellowish. It's also... You've got all that flaking off of it, and that could come from the acid content.

GUEST:
Okay.

APPRAISER:
This could be deacidified. And that is something you might want to consider. To me, the fact that it's got all these chips and everything-- it's not a big deal, because it's an old used map. And it doesn't bother you.

GUEST:
No.

APPRAISER:
In a store that sold antique maps, I would expect this to sell for about $1,200 to $1,400.

GUEST:
Oh, my!

APPRAISER:
Thank you so much. And I'm so pleased you brought it in.

GUEST:
This is awesome. I'm just thrilled.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
The Philadelphia Print Shop West
Denver, CO
Appraised value (2008)
$1,200 Retail$1,400 Retail
Event
Chattanooga, TN (July 19, 2008)
Period
19th Century
Form
Map
Material
Linen, Paper
October 10, 2011: After this segment aired, a viewer wrote in to point out that the first American gold rush did not actually take place in Georgia, as the guest stated in the appraisal, but in North Carolina. We consulted with appraiser Christopher Lane, who confirmed that gold was first discovered in North Carolina in the early 18th century, which ultimately led to the first American gold rush in North Carolina in the early 19th century.

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