Catalog Archive
Auction 186, Lot 137

First French Map of the New United States

"Carte des Etats-Unis de l'Amerique Suivant le Traite de Paix de ... Dediee et Presentee a S. Excellence Mr. Benjamin Franklin...", Lattre, Jean

Subject: Eastern United States & Canada

Period: 1791 (circa)


Color: Hand Color

30 x 21.9 inches
76.2 x 55.6 cm
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This is the first French map of the official, newly created United States of America following the peace treaty of September 1783. It is also one of the most beautiful maps of the period. It is based largely on John Mitchell's landmark map of 1755. The map extends to cover most of eastern Canada with emphasis on the great fishing banks off Newfoundland. The western boundary of the United States follows the Mississippi River and the region west of the Allegany Mountains is shown to be occupied primarily by numerous Indian nations with a few scattered forts. A large inset depicts southern Florida and the Bahamas. The map is dedicated to Benjamin Franklin, ambassador to France, and the principal U.S. representative in the peace negotiations. The stunning cartouche contains the title and dedication on the unfurled sail of a ship sailing in the Atlantic. The Great Seal of the United States, which incorporates the bald eagle as a symbol of the nation, was formally approved by Congress in 1782 just before Ben Franklin left for Paris to sign the official treaty between the U.S., Britain and France. The seal of the Society of the Cincinnati, which also incorporates the bald eagle symbol, was designed by L'Enfant and approved in 1783. The Lattre map is the first map to display both of these seals, and the first time that a foreign document endorsed either seal. This map would be an important addition to an American map collection and is rarely seen on the market. This appears to be the fourth state, with the imprint of Delamarche added to the title cartouche and the date "1784" removed.

References: McCorkle #784.10; Pritchard & Taliaferro #70; Ristow, p. 63; Sellers & van Ee #750.

Condition: B+

A nice impression with contemporary outline color on a sheet with the watermarks of rosary beads and the initials "BAR." There is minor soiling and a printer's crease at center. Close margins, as issued, with no margin at lower left and trimmed within the neatline at top right.

Estimate: $5,500 - $7,000

Sold for: $7,000

Closed on 2/9/2022