Rare Revolutionary War Map could show collectors to $1.5m at Christie's

On November 15, Christie's will offer a very rare manuscript Revolutionary War map (estimate: $1m-1.5m) as part of its autumn Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts including Americana sale at Christie's New York RockefellerCenter saleroom.

It is the only known such manuscript in private hands―one of five known versions of this map made. The others are all in institutions or libraries.

Made in New York by Hessian mapmaker Charles Auguste de Gironcourt in 1780, the monumental map (12 sheets, 83 ⅜ in x 78 in) depicts in remarkable detail the numerous battles and extensive military activity during the early years of the American Revolution.

Hand drawn in pen-and-ink and watercolour, the map illustrates troop movements, natural terrain features, cities and manmade structures such as bridges and roads all along New York, New Jersey, and Long Island and down to the upper Chesapeake Bay.

American Revolutionary War map
The extremely rare American Revolutionary War map

Also offered in the sale is a contemporaneous map by de Gironcourt depicting the fortifications, troop positions and ship positions in and around Charleston, S.C., at the time of the city's siege and surrender on May 12, 1780. It measures 25 ⅜ in. x 19 ⅜ in. (estimate: $100,000-$150,000).

Charles Auguste de Gironcourt was born in the town of Epinal in Lorraine, France, in 1756. Prior to joining the Hessian forces in 1776 he served in the French army, and accompanied the Hessian (German) troops to America in May of 1777.

He was commissioned second lieutenant in April 1776, and served as deputy quartermaster general from 1781-82.

De Gironcourt succeeded the Hessian map-maker Capt. Reinhard Jacob Martin in the engineer corps attached to the Hessian commander's staff, quartered at Morris House, New York. In this position, he continued Martin's work recording the Hessians' critical role in the American war.

The map comes from the Earls of Carysfort by direct descent to Sir William Proby, Bt, CBE, DL. It possibly could have come into the family through either the 1st Earl of Carysfort, John Joshua Proby (1751-1828) or his sons, the 2nd and 3rd earls.

Rare maps from the time of the American War of Independence are certainly highly coveted. In 2010 we reported on the sale of a map of Yorktown by James D Julia which set a record at $1.15m.

In general, collectibles relating to the War of Independence are highly collectible - so much so that whoever buys this exceptional George Washington autograph (which appears on a lottery ticket) will find that it qualifies for our unique 120% guarantee.


Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock