Auction 116, Lot 878

"Pier Map of New York Harbor…", Sanborn Map Company

Subject: Atlases, New York

Period: 1922 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

14.8 x 19 inches
37.6 x 48.3 cm

This is a rare and complete commercial, fire insurance atlas. This atlas contains sixty-eight maps that cover the shore and piers of Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island City, Staten Island, and the New Jersey Shore. The full-page maps each measure 13" x 18" and are drawn on a consistent scale of 300 ft. per inch. Each is highly detailed and locates fire alarm boxes, fire hydrants and five different color schemes show the types of building construction. The maps are remarkably detailed showing individual streets and alleys, buildings and companies, railroads, piers, bridges, subways, and more. Included is a double-page map of the entire harbor with the location of each detailed map. The copyright date on all the maps is 1922. A fine aerial photograph (9.5" x 7") of Manhattan viewed from the south is pasted down on inside front cover. This is an actual sepia toned photograph, not a printed reproduction, that is by "U.S.A.A.S" with embossed stamp that partially reads "Air Service." Hardbound in cloth with red leather label and title in gilt, photograph, title page, Street and Business Index, maps.

These atlases were originally produced for insurance underwriters, who used them to determine risks and establish premiums. They were usually discarded when they became outdated and are quite scarce outside of public institutions. The value of Sanborn maps as a modern link to archeology and history cannot be overstated. According to Fortune Magazine of February 1937, "Sanborn Maps describe the houses on every street ... [and] cost anywhere from $12 to $200 [per map]" - and that is in 1937 dollars!


Condition: A

Maps are generally fine with lovely color and clean paper. Covers are rubbed with spine and tips a little abraded, otherwise the entire atlas is fine.

Estimate: $600 - $800

Sold for: $1,200

Closed on 9/20/2006