Catalog Archive
Auction 98, Lot 447

"[Lot of 2] Plate VIII [and] Plate IX", Anon.

Subject: Birds

Period: 1855 (circa)

Publication: U.S.P.R.R. Exp. & Surveys - California

Color: Hand Color

7 x 9 inches
17.8 x 22.9 cm
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During the 1850s, the U.S. government sponsored an extensive series of expeditions designed to gather information on the vast new territories that had been acquired in western North America. The discovery of gold in California further stimulated westward traffic and heightened the need for a faster and more convenient way to bring the far-flung parts of the country together. In 1853 Congress commissioned the Army's Topographic Bureau to conduct a series of surveys to find a suitable route for a transcontinental railroad. There were six major expeditions; five of them covered the area between the Great Plains and west coast, and the sixth explored the coastal states of California and Oregon. All of these expeditions were accompanied by naturalists and artists to document the landscape, flora and fauna along the route. The reports, maps and lithographs were published in the 13 volume report "Explorations and Surveys to ascertain the most practicable and economical route for a Railroad from the Mississippi river to the Pacific Ocean."

Nice pair of hand colored lithographs from this important early expedition in California. Plates VIII and IX . Birds are not named, but both are water fowl.


Condition: A

Plate IX has lower corner torn off, well in margin, and is evenly toned., still very good.

Estimate: $30 - $40

Sold for: $40

Closed on 3/6/2002