Rare pre-Great Fire map headed to Leslie Hindman auction – Consumer News

on Aug30

29 August 2017 | 5:00 pm

On Sept. 13, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will put an 1857 map of Chicago on the auction block. It’s a big deal, figuratively and literally.

The wall map, drawn and illustrated by American mapmaker James Palmatary, depicts a bird’s-eye view of the city, looking west from a vantage point over the lake. Its details include “The Sands,” an area filled with cheap motels, gambling dens and brothels that is now basically Streeterville. It shows a train chugging along the tracks of the Illinois Central Railroad, which had been completed the year before. It also depicts notable buildings, among them the McCormick Reaper factory, which was on the north bank of the Chicago River, and Chicago Water Works.

It is only one of four known to exist, and the only one in private hands. The others are at the Library of Congress, Chicago History Museum and the Newberry Library. The auction house says that as far as it can tell, a map like this one hasn’t gone on the market for at least 100 years.

Jim Akerman, curator of maps at Newberry, guesses that only a few hundred of the maps were printed, and that the others perished either in the fire or from use. The map’s size, about 46 inches high and 80 inches wide, adds to its value. “You can get a lot of detail about individual buildings,” says Akerman. The westward-looking orientation “represents the way Chicago sees itself, as the great gateway to the West,” he adds.

The map is “a pretty dramatic piece,” Akerman says, and of great interest to serious map collectors. “This isn’t for someone looking to fill a space on a wall.”

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers estimates a winning bid of $20,000 to $30,000. A link to the catalog description is here.

Read more:

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