A 245-YEAR-OLD map of Essex wowed an auctioneer after it fetched thousands of pounds more than predicted.

The ultra-rare map, created by John Chapman and Peter Andre, was published in 1777 detailing the various routes and locations in the county.

It comes in book form and contains 24 hand-tinted double page engraved maps, showing Essex’s towns and villages.

The treasured collector’s item went under the hammer at Colchester auctioneers Reeman Dansie and was expected to be sold for between £600 and £800.

Gazette: Mapped - Clacton and other regions of Tendring Picture: Reeman DansieMapped - Clacton and other regions of Tendring Picture: Reeman Dansie (Image: Reeman Dansie)

But, during a “sale of surprises”, the map fetched £5,000 after two bidders battled it out for the prized collection.

“It is doom and gloom in the economy at the moment but people still have the money to spend on antiques,” said experienced auctioneer Daniel Wright.

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Pages within the book include a dedicated section to Colchester while Tendring, Maldon, Braintree, Halstead and other regions are shown across the county.

Each map can be taken out of the book and married up to create a vast, complete navigation tool.

Gazette: Auctioneer - Daniel WrightAuctioneer - Daniel Wright (Image: Newsquest)

It is understood the item was produced during the reign of King George III.

The remarkable piece of history particularly impressed Mr Wright, who explained it is in an enviable condition.

“This is an exceptional price which might be a record for this particular map, we have seen them before but a first edition all together like this is quite scarce,” said the auctioneer.

Gazette: Map - the item fetched £5,000 Picture: Reeman DansieMap - the item fetched £5,000 Picture: Reeman Dansie (Image: Reeman Dansie)

“This is a bound map so it is in book form and very large, it wouldn’t fit on your average bookcase.

“It is a very fine example in a very nice condition and it’s a collector’s piece and sometimes, because they are scarce, people will pay what they need to pay to acquire what they’re after for a collection.”

Mr Wright added: “This price is one of the unknowns of auctions. Two people really wanted it and the initial publication was quite limited, it is scarce”.