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Auction 14: Americana

Lot 22: Mission Scientifique au Mexique

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Rare French Plates & Maps of California & Nevada

22. FRANCE. COMMISSION SCIENTIFIQUE DU MEXIQUE. Guillemin-Tarayre, Edmond. [Wrapper title]: Mission Scientifique au Mexique et dans L’Amérique Centrale, Ouvrage Publié par Ordre du Ministre de l’Instruction Publique. Géologie. Description des Anciennes Possessions Mexicaines du Nord.... Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1871. 216 pp. (text ends in midsentence on p. 216), 20 lithographed and engraved maps, plans, profiles, and plates (some in color or on tinted grounds, several folding; themes include mining and mining apparatus, maps of California and Nevada, Native Americans, views), engraved text illustrations (maps, scientific figures). See partial map and plate list below. 4to, original grey printed wrapper (lower wrap missing) bound into early twentieth-century dark brown sheep over brown cloth, spine gilt-lettered and with raised bands. Spine rubbed and worn at extremities, corners bumped, a few minor stains to cloth. Except for light scattered foxing, condition is fine, the plates and maps especially fine and fresh. Exceedingly rare maps relating to California and Nevada, mining, geology, and petroleum.

    First edition (not offered for public sale), one part only of a lengthy, bibliographically complex set published by the French government (the present part relates to geology and mining in California and Nevada). Palau 110850. These reports were included in the larger work on Mexico because California and Nevada were formerly part of Mexico. In 1864, as a consequence of the French military expedition to Mexico, the Commission Scientifique du Mexique was established. Mining in California and Nevada was of intense international interest. In 1859 silver was discovered at the Comstock Lode in Virginia City. Thousands of miners, loggers, and traders rushed to the region and towns sprang up, necessitating a railroad between Virginia City and Truckee through the Washoe Valley. By the late 1870s, the all-too-brief mining boom was spent. The maps and plates in this report relate primarily to mining and geology, but often they contain fugitive details on the region before many of the towns and mining operations were abandoned. The plates were drawn by Erhard Schieble and all but one were printed by Lemercier. They are superb renditions of their subjects by some of the more accomplished mapmakers and view makers of the time, printed in a country at the height of its excellence in this type of work.

Selected maps & plates:

Carte de la Haute Californie et de la Nevada dressée par E. Guillemin-Tarayre d’après les derniers documents 1867. 28.4 x 20.9 cm (11-3/16 x 8-3/16 inches). Contemporary shading in blue and sepia. California, Nevada, and part of Arizona.

Types des Tribus de Grand-Bassin I.II. Shoshone. III. Washoë. IV.V. Pah-Utah. 25.5 x 17.7 cm (10-1/16 x 7 inches). Lithograph from photographs, on tinted ground. Native Americans of the region (including Utah).

Itinéraire aux mines de la Névada d’après les déterminations géodésiques de E. Guillemin-Tarayre Septbre - Octbre - Novbre 1864. 61.4 x 45.8 cm (24-1/8 x 18 inches). Geological and mineralogical map of Nevada with color key and long profiles.

Carte de Panoramique de la Région métallifére de Washoe (État de Névada) par E. Guillemin-Tarayre.... Circular panorama measuring 49 cm (19 inches) across (height of circle omitting imprint information). Bird’s-eye panorama of the Washoe mining district, centered on Virginia City; inner circle colored to indicate types of terrain; outer circle consisting of an uncolored view of mountains, towns, mining operations, roads, etc. Named locations include Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Peak, Silver Mountain, Carson River, Morning Star, Mt. Washoe, Genoa, Truckee, Steamboat, Silver City, Gold Hill, Fort Churchill, etc. This is highly medieval in concept, although the image was probably realized using the most advanced scientific methods. The detail work is incredible.

District of Washoë Plan et Coupe du Filon de Comstock 1864.... 25.5 x 43.5 cm (10 x 17-1/8 inches). Uncolored regional map in large scale.

Nevada Géologie et Minéralogie. 25.5 x 44 cm (10 x 17-3/8 inches). Uncolored plate with 8 elements, including profile of the Mono Lake area, District of Pine Forest, profile of Virginia City, geysers at Mono Lake, and mining shaft at Antelope.

Esquisse Géologique des Régions Métallifères de la Californie Janvier, Février, Mars 1865. 44.2 x 25.5 cm (17-3/8 x 10 inches). Full-color geological and mineralogical map of the California mining regions. Includes the San Francisco Bay area. Not in Wheat, Maps of the California Gold Region (which includes some maps as late as 1865).

Californie Géologie Métallurgie. Exploitation Principale des Mines de Mercure de New-Almaden. 25.4 x 44 cm (10 x 17-3/4 inches). Uncolored profile and details of the mines and extraction methods.

Les Trois Comtés du sud Sa. Barbara, Los Angeles Sn. Diego Région du Pétrole Mars Avril 1865. 25.2 x 44 cm (10 x 17-3/8 inches). Colored map of the petroleum regions from the mouth of the Santa Inez River and Santa Barbara to slightly south of San Diego. This beautiful, rare map includes a finely executed miniature profile showing the entire coastline from Santa Barbara to the Mojave Desert (missions and other landmarks are located).

Carte Metallurgique de la Haute Californie et de la Nevada dressée par E. Guillemin-Tarayre d’après les derniers documents 1867. 28.5 x 21 cm (11-1/4 x 8-1/4 inches). Metallurgical map keyed in yellow, brown, green, grey, and blue.

Carte Geologique de la Haute Californie et de la Nevada dressée par E. Guillemin-Tarayre D’aprèsles recherches des Géologues du Pacific Road, du Géological Survey et celles de l’Auteur 1867. 28.5 x 21 cm (11-1/4 x 8-1/4 inches). Geological map keyed with shades of green, blue, pink, brown, sienna, etc.

Esquisse Géologique des Anciennes Possessions Mexicaines du Nord Incorporées a la Fédération des États-Unis...1867. 28 x 43.8 cm (11 x 17-1/4 inches). Map of the U.S. with color key to geological regions, with a list of geological explorers’ fields of research (Frémont, Stansbury, Marcou, Hayden, Dana, Roemer, Shumard, Wislizenus, Whitney, King, et al.). Tribes, geological and other points of interest, and major towns and cities are located. Not in Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West.


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