Daniel enters the Pirates’ den with sea charts of the Caribbean

LET us hope St. James’s rare map and atlas expert Daniel Crouch, one of the leading dealers in his field, has a relaxing Christmas because next month he again embarks on what must be one of the most formidable fair schedules of any international dealer.

Just to give you some idea. This year he has exhibited at book and map fairs in Miami, New York, Chicago, Paris, Hong Kong and London as well as taking stands at Maastricht, Masterpiece and Frieze Masters.

From January 23 to February 1 he makes his debut at the Winter Antiques Show in New York and then immediately moves to sunnier climes for the Miami International Map Fair on February 7 and 8.

He has picked his stock carefully for Miami where he will offer rare and historic sea charts of the United States and the Caribbean with a good representation of the Florida area.

We show a chart of the Gulf of Florida by Scottish engineer and surveyor George Gauld who was commissioned to chart the perilous waters of the Gulf Coast of West Florida, which he did for nearly 20 years. This chart is from the ‘West India Islands Atlas’, printed in London c.1802 (Gauld had died in 1782). It has an asking price of £65,000.

Daniel has been at the Miami fair, which he describes as the top quality map fair in the United States, for some 14 years and has built up a clientele of American, Caribbean and South American chart collectors.

He tells me: “We are very pleased to bring such important early sea charts of the region back to where they were created.”

With the runaway success of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, starring Johnny Depp as the swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow, the dealer agreed that sea charts are a topical and romantic area of mapping.

But there is another Pirates connection. Although the ever-diplomatic Daniel would not confirm it, I hear from a reliable source that he has sold some sea charts to Johnny Depp himself, making Jack Sparrow a customer.