Auction 42 - Rare and Important Items

A Set of Hand-Colored Maps – Planning the Construction of Ports in Haifa and Jaffa – Early British Mandate in Eretz Israel

Opening: $5,000
19 printed maps, colored by hand, with plans to construct ports in Haifa and Jaffa, by the Boss Dordrecht company, Rotterdam, Holland, 1920.
When World War I ended and the Ottoman Empire territories were divided between France and Britain (Sykes-Picot Agreement), the problem of the location of a port has been raised; a port that would best serve the economic and political interests of the Mandate Government. At the time, the Jaffa Port was the most active gateway to Palestine through which most commerce and passengers entered, while in Haifa there was only a negligible dock.
Various considerations, the main one being the possibility of creating a territorial continuum from the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf and the possibility of establishing in Haifa the starting point of the petrol pipe from Iraq, brought the British Colonial Office to prefer Haifa Harbor as a strategic point to establish a port.
However, simultaneously, the merchants of Jaffa, who were distressed due to the poor state of the port in their city, opposed to the idea and founded a "Committee for the construction of a port in Jaffa" headed by Shmuel Tolkovsky, an agronomist and a Zionist activist, and approved by the High Commissioner Herbert Samuel. The main goal of this committee was to finance proposals to develop a port in Jaffa. The committee members decided to perform a professional survey, financed by the committee and Samuel did not object.
As a result, in the second half of the year 1920, the committee contacted a Dutch company from Rotterdam by the name of Boss Dordrecht (or: Bos) and an engineer on their behalf, A. Van Koninsberg arrived in Eretz Israel.
In spite of the Jaffa residents' endeavors, the British government decided to build the port in Haifa. During the 1936-1938 riots, the Jaffa port was closed for Jews which led to the construction of a port in Tel-Aviv (inaugurated in 1936).
The maps presented were drawn by the Dutch company and they portray the plan to develop ports in Jaffa and in Haifa. 10 maps portray the plan to extend the Jaffa Port and 9 maps present the plan to build a port in Haifa. In each of the two "sets" is a map dedicated to sanitary arrangement during and after construction of the ports.
The maps are based on survey maps of the shores executed by the British Admiralty in 1859-1862 and surveyed by Admiral Sir Frederick George Denham Bedford. The maps are printed on particularly heavy paper of good quality, suitable for watercolor.
All of the planned stages of building the port, were added to the maps in delicate aquarelles. The details are very accurate and fine (the quality of paper led to the preservation of bright colors and the maps are almost
The paper rolls are contained in an original cardboard tube inscribed “Plans of Jaffa and Haifa Port”.
For further information:
1. Stern, Shimon: “The Struggle to Establish the Haifa Port during the British Mandate”. In “Katedra” 21, October, 1981.
2. Fein, Jonathan: “Development of Haifa Port in the British Policy 1906-1924: Strategic Considerations”. In: “Katedra” 89, October 1998.
3. Zvieli, Dov; Rosen, Baruch; Galili, Ohad: “Hydrographic Mapping of Haifa Harbor by the British Admiralty in 1832-1921”. In: “Ofakim BeGeographia” 73-74, 2009.
19 paper sheets 74X56 cm. Good condition. Minor spots. Attached to upper margins of Haifa Port Plans are (new) adhesive papers which served for hanging the plans.
Rare and Important Items