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Heritage Auctions to sell rare Texas map found in box of sheet music

A rare, early map of Texas discovered at a local auction for $10 could sell for up to $8,000 at Heritage later this week.
The map was discovered by Crystal Murray in the mid-1980s, after winning a box of antique sheet music in a local estate auction.

"I saw the box of sheet music at an auction in Seymour, Indiana, and my children at the time were taking up piano lessons," said Murray. "All of the music was from within that period of the late 1800s and we discovered the book with the map in the box. We thought it was interesting and we always kept the letters with the map."

What she found was a hand-coloured, 1853 edition of J. De Cordova’s Map of Texas, depicting counties, cities and towns, roads, rivers and Indian villages.

"This map was first issued in 1849, but what makes this example truly unique is that it appears to be the copy owned by James M. Manning, the surveyor who made crucial changes for the 1853 edition," said Sandra Palomino, Director of Historical Manuscripts at Heritage Auctions.

"Manning was Deputy District Surveyor for Corpus Christi in 1852 and the front pastedown of the book holding the map is signed: "James M. Manning’s map / corrected for its Author by said Manning."

Within the map’s leather-bound covers, Murray also discovered a number of personal documents relating to Manning, which will also be offered for sale by Heritage.

They include Manning’s military appointment to the rank of corporal in the 5th Regiment, 8th Brigade, and 9th Division of Infantry of the New York state militia, and letters from De Cordova to Manning concerning his amendments to the original edition of the map and his payment for the work.

Further notable lots will include an 1834 land grant signed by William Barret Travis as secretary to the ayuntamiento of San Felipe de Austin; an 1838 manuscript map of Matagorda, an 1835 map of land grants made to Texas emigrants, and a rare first edition copy of ‘Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry and the Cattlemen of Texas and Adjacent Territory’ by James Cox.

Heritage Auctions’ annual Texana Grand Format Auction takes place in Dallas on March 12.

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