A phone bidder paid $486,400 for a Revolutionary War map of the Battle of Monmouth (New Jersey) that was drawn by Michel Capitaine du Chesnoy, the cartographer and aide-de-camp of Marquis de Lafayette at Northeast Auctions’ August 16 and 17 sale in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The buyer was a private collector, underbid by another private collector. The estimate was $90,000/150,000.
The 16" x 30 ¼" map, written mostly in French, described 22 sites and troop positions and featured hand-colored typography.
According to the auction house, many of Lafayette’s personal copies of Capitaine’s maps have disappeared. The largest collection of original work by Capitaine is held by the Library of Congress, which owns six of his maps, including one of the Battle of Monmouth containing identical text to the one sold but in a vertical orientation. Other examples are in the collections of Yale University, Brown University, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Northeast Auctions was not the first auction house to sell the map. On February 29, 1912, it sold at the American Art Association’s sale titled “Rare Americana: Relics and Souvenirs of the Marquis de Lafayette, Chiefly Connected with the War of Independence.” There it sold to Robert Hartshorne (1866-1927) and descended in the Hartshorne family.
M.A.D. will have a full report on the sale in an upcoming issue.
$486,400 (includes buyer's premium). Photo courtesy Northeast Auctions.