Auction 129, Lot 454

"Arctic Sea. The Discoveries North of Smith Sound. By the U.S. Ship Polaris. Under Command of C.F. Hall", U.S. Navy Dept.

Subject: Greenland

Period: 1873 (published)


Color: Black & White

19.5 x 27 inches
49.5 x 68.6 cm

This scarce folding map shows in great detail the exploration of the ship Polaris and its crew. The coastal areas are well mapped, while unknown areas are left blank. Five coastal profiles are shown along the right side. The furthest north location is called "President's Land" that was "Seen by several persons." Also Farragut Pt. was "reported as faintly seen from the masthead." The map is loose (apparently as issued) in the back of the accompanying book. The 628 page volume is complete less the title page, but spine gives title "Report of the Secretary of Navy. 1873." It contains detailed reports on the search for the ill-fated Polaris and the investigation of her loss. Hall's body was recently recovered from Greenland and the autopsy found high levels of arsenic suggesting Hall may have been poisoned by his crew, but this 1873 report states Hall died of natural causes. The remarkable story is here.

The book also contains two other maps. "Chart of the N.W. Coast of Greenland" (13.5 x 15.5") shows the track of the Steam Launch Little Juniata commanded by Lt. Geo. W. DeLong. "Chart Showing the Tracks of the U.S.S. Juniata and Tigress and the "Little Juniata" (17.5 x 24.5") is centered on Baffin Bay extending north to Smith's Sound and south to Hudson Strait and Cape Chidley. Daily tracks of each ship are delineated. The Secretary of the Navy calls the cruise of the Polaris (p. 13) "decidedly the most successful of arctic expeditions. The geographical knowledge of the arctic regions has been largely advanced. The ship…attained…a position far beyond the limits of all previous navigation toward the pole…"


Condition: A

Maps and volume are very good.

Estimate: $200 - $250

Sold for: $120

Closed on 9/23/2009