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Rare Antique Maps in May 20 Auction Unfold History of Washington D.C.
J.H. Colton’s 1855 hand-colored map of Georgetown and the City of Washington: The Capital of the United States of America. Features engraved illustrations of The Washington Monument, The Capitol, and the Smithsonian. Auction estimate $200-$400.
FALLS CHURCH, VA.- An extraordinary private collection of more than 100 maps documenting the topographical history and development of Washington D.C. will be auctioned on Thursday, May 20, 2010 at Quinn’s Auction Galleries & Waverly Rare Books in Falls Church. The property of Washingtonian John Richman, the collection of rare maps traces over 200 years of the District’s physical progress, including the dredging of the Potomac that enabled the creation of a unified new city.

“This collection is a virtual 200-year time capsule of how Washington was established, how it looked before the District was formed, and how the aspects of some of its most important landmarks changed the landscape,” said Matthew C. Quinn, co-owner of Quinn’s Auctions. “There are maps of the City of Alexandria, the City of Georgetown, and then the newly established City of Washington. Additionally, there are maps showing The Washington Monument as it was being built.”

The ongoing architectural transformation of the nation’s most famous monuments (including The Washington Monument), The White House and other structures are documented in several maps that show the evolution of our nation’s capital. “All this history in one location, how often do you see that?” Quinn said. “It’s fascinating to compare the city’s transformation over centuries.”

Most of the D.C. maps are over 100 years old, and some are on the pricier side, like Andrew Ellicott’s late-18th-century “Plan of the City of Washington in the Territory of Columbia ceded by the States of Virginia and Maryland to the United States of America.” Its auction estimate is $500-$1,000. But Quinn stressed that most of the maps entered in the sale are very affordable, with individual estimates starting well under $100.

“This is a rare opportunity for Washingtonians to own fascinating views of their city from over a century ago. Each map is attractively framed and ready to hang as a historical artwork in the home or office,” Quinn said.

The John Richman District of Columbia map collection is the centerpiece of a larger selection of rare books, maps and atlases to be auctioned on May 20 commencing at 6:30 p.m. All forms of bidding will be available, including live via the Internet.

Quinn's Auction Galleries | Waverly Rare Books | John Richman | District of Columbia map collection |


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May 19, 2010

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