A copy of the earliest printed map of Australia has sold at auction in London for almost $250,000.
The map was commissioned by botanist Joseph Banks in 1772 to celebrate Captain Cook’s voyage of discovery to the Pacific which ended the previous year.
The map depicts New Holland with the continent’s entire east coast labelled New South Wales and Tasmania connected to the mainland.
It also shows New Zealand.
The copy sold by Sotheby’s on Thursday is one of just three copies known to have survived.
The other two are held at the British Library and the State Library of NSW.
The map was engraved by John Bayly based on Alexander Dalrymple’s map of the Pacific.
Banks hoped his 1772 chart of the Great Pacific Ocean and South Pacific Ocean would not only celebrate Cook’s first voyage but also promote his second.
However, when the botanist fell out with the British Admiralty and withdrew from the next expedition, Banks “discarded any uncirculated copies of the map”, Sotheby’s said in an auction note.
The copy sold in London had been owned by private collector Franklin Brooke-Hitching.
It fetched STG134,500 ($243,200) – well above the estimate of around STG100,000 ($180,800).