Auction 136, Lot 152

Flawless example of Ensign & Thayer's rare wall map

"Ensign's Travellers' Guide, and Map of the United States, Containing the Roads, Distances, Steam Boat and Canal Routes &c.", Ensign, Thayer & Co.

Subject: United States

Period: 1848 (dated)


Color: Hand Color

39 x 26 inches
99.1 x 66 cm

This rare wall map was issued at the conclusion of the Mexican America War during a period of great expansion in the United States. The map was originally issued on banknote paper and folded into a traveler's guide for emigrants. This rare edition was issued in wall map format with the addition of a rich panel of engravings symbolizing the history and character of the Republic. The map extends to the Rocky Mountains, showing all of Texas and part of New Mexico, which is still shown as Mexican territory. A huge Missouri Territory extends northward from Texas (that lacks its panhandle) and occupies the entire Midwest as far east as Wisconsin Territory, with Indian lands noted in the southern portion. The map has good detail of roads, major towns and villages, railroads, Indian villages, watershed, forts and more. The Santa Fe Trail is shown as the route between Missouri and New Mexico. The decorative border encloses four insets: Length of Rivers, Height of Mountains, double hemispheric World, and the full text of the Constitution.

The patriotic panel below the map is a composition of portraits of all presidents, along with a very elaborate symbolic vignette of the Indian chief King Philip (Metacom) at left and James Polk at right. Previous editions included Washington's portrait opposite King Philip; in this edition it has been replaced by the portrait of the current president, James Polk. An engraving taken from John Trumbull's 1824 painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence is topped with four smaller engravings including the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth and scenes from the Revolutionary War. The map was engraved on steel by J. Wells. A rare map mounted on original rollers.


Condition: A+

Absolutely beautiful, flawless restored condition. Backed on old linen and no varnish to the map's surface.

Estimate: $2,500 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,800

Closed on 6/1/2011