Catalog Archive
Auction 175, Lot 592

Complete Set of Blueback Charts of the South China Sea

"[Lot of 6] East India Archipelago [Western Route to China, Chart No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6]", Imray, James

Subject: Southeast Asia

Period: 1879-84 (dated)


Color: Black & White

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This impressive and complete set of six blueback charts covers southeast Asia from approximately Jakarta (Sunda Strait) northeast to Singapore, Canton (Guangzhou), Hong Kong, and Taiwan. In between these endpoints, numerous islands are identified and named in both the Java Sea and South China Sea. Of particular interest and relevant today is the depiction of the Spratly Islands on chart #4, where China and other nearby nations are building up reefs to create islands in this strategically important region. Each of the charts is filled with a multitude of navigational information including soundings, reefs, rocks, and shoals, as well as navigational routes and currents. There is also good information along the coasts of towns, capes, points, rivers, and mountain peaks. Lighthouses are marked with yellow and red, as is typical on Imray charts. Features a number of inset maps of important ports including Gulf of Bangkok, Saigon, Approaches to Amoy Harbor, etc. A remarkable set of charts of this important region.

A. East India Archipelago [Western Route to China, Chart No. 1], dated 1879 (48.9 x 40.0"). Includes an 1880 Imray & Son stamp. Condition: There is moderate soiling, most of it concentrated along the right side of the sheet, and some light damp stains at left and top. (B)

B. ... [Western Route to China. Chart No. 2], dated 1880 (40.0 x 48.8"). Condition: There is moderate soiling along the top of the chart and light scattered damp stains. (B)

C. ... [Western Route to China. No. 3], dated 1884 (40.8 x 49.5"). Includes an 1886 Imray & Son stamp. Condition: In the Pulo Conder inset at bottom left there are several tears that have been repaired on recto and verso with archival tape and a 3" x 0.5" chip. There are scattered damp stains, moderate soiling, and an edge tear that enters 4.5" into image at top. (C+)

D. ... [Western Route to China. Chart No. 4], dated 1881 (49.6 x 40.0"). Condition: There is moderate soiling, mostly along the right side, and scattered damp stains, mostly along the left side. A couple short edge tears just pass the neatline. (B)

E. ... [Western Route to China. Chart No. 5], dated 1880 (39.8 x 49.4"). Includes a 1881 Imray & Son stamp. Condition: There is moderate soiling at top and bottom and a few light damp stains. There is a 1/2" chip at bottom right with minor loss of the border. (B)

F. ... [Western Route to China. Chart No. 6], dated 1881 (39.9 x 49.6"). Condition: There is moderate soiling primarily concentrated along the top edge of the chart and some scattered damp stains. Two edge tears pass the neatline: one at top that enters 0.75" into the image and the other at bottom that enters 2.75" into the image. (B)



All of the charts are tightly rolled and have old manuscript notations in pencil, as is common with blueback charts. See description above for additional details. Wood pieces on sides in images are not attached to the map.

Estimate: $1,400 - $1,700

Sold for: $1,000

Closed on 11/13/2019