Early 17th century map among first to show California as island

WHAT: An early, double-page engraved map — “The North part of American Conteyning Newfoundland, new England, Virginia, Florida ... and upon ye West the large and goodly Iland of California” — made in 1625 London sold for $12,500 in a recent sale of Maps, Atlases, and Natural History and Color Plate Books at Swann Galleries in New York.

MORE: Significant because it is so early, the map is one of the first to show California as an island. By British mathematician Henry Briggs, it shows knowledge of routes used by Northwest Passage explorers.

SMART COLLECTORS KNOW: In the map collecting world, California mapped as an island off the West coast is a specialty genre.

HOT TIP: Knowledge shown on the map may have been used by explorers of the English colonies.

BOTTOM LINE: The engraving is a seminal document in the mapping of the West. Odds of finding such a significant map in good original condition are extremely slim.