Published: September 14, 2017
CHICAGO — J.T. Palmatary’s rare birds-eye view of pre-fire Chicago sold just shy of $200,000 in Leslie Hindman Auctioneers’ September 13 fine books and manuscripts auction. It was printed in 1857 by Braunhold & Sonne and is one of four known copies. The three other copies are held by the Library of Congress, the Newberry Library and the Chicago History Museum. The map was estimated at $30/30,000 and achieved $198,600.
The example offered here was the only known obtainable copy of the map in private hands. Having sold to a collector in Chicago, it remains in private hands. “As the map is one of only four known copies, we’re thrilled that it sold to a Chicago area collector,” said Gretchen Hause, director of fine books and manuscripts at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.
Palmatary is known for his aerial views of cities. The birds-eye view of Chicago was completed just one year after the Illinois Central Railroad was built, which appears in the foreground of the map. Another notable feature is an area called “The Sands,” visible in the lower right-hand corner. Notorious in its time, the area was known for having a high concentration of brothels, gambling dens, saloons and inexpensive motels. In 1871, during the Great Chicago Fire, the Sands became a point of refuge for displaced Chicagoans. Palmatary detailed notable places in the city, as depicted on the map via a lower margin legend. The view includes street names, homes, churches and points of industrial interest.
“The market remains strong for rare material in excellent condition. Both of these things contributed to the high price realized for Palmatary’s Chicago map,” said Hause.
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