Enfilade

Was this Washington’s Yorktown Map? — At This Price One Hopes So

Posted in Art Market by Editor on March 9, 2010

In the March digital edition of Fine Books & Collections, Ian McKay reports on some auction highlights, including this map from the Revolutionary War, which sold for $1.15 million.

Manuscript Plan of the Battle of Yorktown, auctioned by James Julia of Fairfield, Maine

What was to become the most expensive American map ever sold at auction was entered for sale without reserve and initially given a wide-open estimate of just $5,000 to $50,000 in this Maine sale. Showing the disposition of the besieged British troops and the combined American and French forces at Yorktown, it was executed on or around October 29, 1781, ten days after the final, unconditional surrender by the British commander, Lord Cornwallis, to George Washington. The drawing up of the map was overseen if not directly accomplished by Lieutenant Colonel Jean Baptiste Gouvion, who in 1777 had been one of a group of French military engineers transferred to the American forces following a direct request from the Continental Congress. He was present at that critical battle. A larger version of the map exists in the National Archives, but there is now speculation that its map may have been one drawn up for the Continental Congress and that the smaller and much better preserved example offered in New England may have been Washington’s own. And if not Washington’s own, at least that of his aide-de-camp, Tobias Lear, who handled a lot of his commander’s papers and through whose family it had passed down. . . .

For the full article, click here»

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