The First Map of Denver

59 [Map – Colorado] Fosdick, H.M. Plan of the
Cities of Denver, Auraria and Highland.
Jefferson Terr. Boston: Published by H.M.
Fosdick and L.N. Tappan, Lithographed by
Meisell Bros., 1859. Original green cloth pocket
folders with gilt title on upper board. There is a
lithograph signature of Fosdick on the map
dated 1859 (sometimes mistakenly identified as
an autograph signature). Map measures
approximately 21 ½ x 27 inches (on a slightly
larger sheet with blank margins, light blue
drafting pencil outlining a tract over some of
the lots; some age toning and light spotting to map, a splits along creases (some closed with
archivally safe tape), but generally a good copy of a very rare map.

A legendary rarity, the circumstances of which are recounted in Graff 1386: “This map was the subject of a long search by the government, but remained undiscovered until 1897. In that year a clerk in the U.S. Land Office, acting under instructions from Washington, finally located the map in the vaults of the Land Office in Denver and the discovery was announced.” Not in Streeter Sale or Phillips, Maps. Not in Wheat. Some idea of the rarity of this map is given by knowing that the Eberstadts never had one in their catalogues. I also had the privilege of handling the other copy to appear in the trade, which I sold to a collector; that only copy was the only one to appear at auction for at least the last 100 years.

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