Catalog Archive
Auction 182, Lot 61

Early Puzzle Map of New York

"McCleary & Pierce's Geographical Analysis of the State of New York", McCleary & Pierce, Samuel & John

Subject: Cartographic Miscellany, Puzzle, New York

Period: 1850 (dated)


Color: Printed Color

10.6 x 8.2 inches
26.9 x 20.8 cm
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While the very first puzzle map produced in the United States was issued by A.T. Goodrich & Company in 1818, this early dissected map of New York features a number of innovations not previously seen. Williams notes in her The Jigsaw Puzzle, Piecing Together a History that these enhancements “included a detailed table of the canals, rivers, and railroads in each county, along with instructions for several educational games that children could play with the pieces.” Williams also notes that the puzzle followed the European practice of placing the puzzle within a wooden frame, making it easier for children to use.

The puzzle pieces consist of wood carved into county size blocks, some being quite small. Each piece is covered with printed paper giving the county name, county seat and a number. Larger side pieces surrounding the puzzle show the title, and the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Only three pieces are missing in the bottom right corner representing Long Island. The front cover reads "Dissecting Map of the State of New York." Patented Sept. 1849, Albany Co. N.Y. Inside the top cover is a comprehensive Table of Explanations, &c plus five distance tables. Paper cover on bottom features fancy borders, an introduction to the map, and testimonials from Governor Hamilton Fish among others. Published by McCleary & Pierce, Albany. Printed by Cannon Place Steam Press Printing House of Troy, New York.

A wonderful piece of American history that is very rarely offered in any condition. We have located two institutional examples and only two past auction records in the last 30 years.

References: Rumsey #4086; Williams (The Jigsaw Puzzle, Piecing Together a History) p. 23.

Condition: B

Puzzle pieces are very good with light wear. Covers are moderately worn and soiled. The front cover is somewhat loose along the top edge and the rear cover has a small crack.

Estimate: $400 - $500

Sold for: $400

Closed on 4/28/2021