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Featured Antique Map of the Week *5/3/2015 - 5/9/2015* May 07 2015, 4 Comments


Orbis Terrarum Typus de Integro Multis in Locis Emendatus auctore Petro Plancio 1594

By: Petrus Plancius

Date: 1594 (dated) Amsterdam

Dimensions: 16 x 22.75 inches (40.7 cm x 57.8 cm)

This is an authentic, antique map of map of the world by Petrus Plancius. This map was published out of Amsterdam and is dated 1594

The Plancius world map of 1594 is best known for being the first map to employ a decorative border filled with allegorical female figures and vignettes of flora and fauna believed to be indigenous to their representative continent. It is a style that would be emulated for well over 100 years, during the renaissance of cartography.

From top left going clockwise, the illustrated panels depict the following:

Europa: A queen holding a cornucopia and scepter sitting above various items symbolizing health, education, discovery, navigation, and military. In the background a battle rages on land and at sea, flanked by two aristocrats in conversation and a farmer playing music for his heard of sheep.

Asia: Another woman of royal stature sits atop a rhinoceros holding a spice branch in one hand and waving an incense burner in the other. The background is shared by another raging battle and group of animals that include elephants, camels, a giraffe, and a unicorn.

Africa: An allegorical female figure sits atop a crocodile holding a parasol, spear, and bow. The background shows pyramids and what appears to be a figure being prepared for mummification outside a tomb. Animals include elephants, lions, an ostrich, snake, and lizard.

Magallanica: The massive assumed continent dominating the southern hemisphere is represented with an allegorical figure sitting atop an elephant holding native flora under a parrot. The background shows a bird of paradise soaring over an army of men riding elephants.

Peruana: This continent (South America) was consistently depicted as the land of the cannibals. In this panel, a figure sits atop a leopard, holding a battle axe, surrounded by parrots, monkeys, goats, a dog and a snake. The background presents a scene of natives preparing a feast of human flesh under erupting volcanoes, with voyaging European ships in the distance.

Mexicana: This continent (North America) is represented by a figure holding a bow and arrow while sitting atop a giant armadillo. Underneath, a box of eggs includes the engravers name Joannes Van Doetecum. The background shows another native feast being prepared, this time mostly consisting of indigenous animals, though a single severed leg can be spotted suggesting the possibility of more cannibals. In the distance, native warriors are being rallied into formation.

Aside from the decorative aspects of this map, several geographical details deserve attention as well. The North Pole is displayed with what was then a popular belief of four land masses separated by streams of flowing ocean water that surround a single island at the very top of the world. A glorious presentation of a northwest passage seems almost too easy to navigate. The fictitious island of Frisland appears in the north Atlantic. A northeast passage shows another navigable route to the Pacific. Korea is shown as a peninsula for the first time and an improved Japan is depicted based on the drawings of the Portuguese cartographer Luiz Teixeira. New Guinea, which had appeared as an island in earlier maps is joined to the massive assumed southern continent of Magallanica. Terra del Fuego is also included within this landmass.

The oceans are labeled with an elaborate calligraphy style and adorned by two sailing ships and a glorious sea monster in the south Pacific. Two celestial star charts appear above and below the map along with an armillary spherical diagram and a compass rose.

Condition: This map is in B condition with some minor separations along the top centerfold and some creasing, which is most notable in the upper celestial star chart. Margins are narrow, which is common among these maps and there are no signs of trimming or loss of the image. An attractive example in completely original condition.

Inventory #18975


Featured Antique Map of the Week * 4/5/2015 - 4/11/2015* April 08 2015, 0 Comments

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Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi Dressee sur un Grand Nombre de Memoires Entr'autres sur ceux de Mr. le Maire

By: Delisle/Covens & Mortier

Date: 1730 (circa) Amsterdam

Dimensions: 17.3 x 23.6 inches (44 x 60 cm)

This is an authentic antique map of the Mississippi River extending from the Rocky Mountains to the English colonies. The map is a later, re-engraving of Delisle’s seminal map by Covens and Mortier published out of Amsterdam circa 1730.

This was a very influential map of the French possession of Louisiana that combined numerous cartographic works of the previous half century and became a landmark of mapping North America, more specifically, the Mississippi River Valley and the Great Lakes Region. This was the first detailed map to show the Gulf region as well as accurately depict the true route of the Mississippi river the various tributaries feeding the mighty river as well as its origins. While the map precedes Jacques Bellin’s map of the Great Lakes by almost 30 years, the two are almost identical in their depiction of Lake Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.

The map includes the routes of the explorations De Soto, Tonty, Moscoso, Denis, and Cavelier as well as notes the locations of various Native American tribes and French forts. Delisle’s map was the first to name Texas (Mission de los Tejas) as well as New Orleans. An inset of the Mississippi Delta and Mobile Bay fills the lower right corner, titled Carte Particuliere des Embouchures de la Riviere S. Louis et de la Mobile.

The map was designed for the political purpose of invalidating the English claims west of the Appalachian Mountains and laid claim to Carolina by the French, which provoked an angry English response. Of course while the French used maps like these to lay claim to vast amounts of new land across America, they had very little control if any over the land within their maps and the millions of Native Americans it was home to.

Condition: Map is in B condition, with some foxing along the left margin and a few separations in the same area.

Inventory #18941


Featured Map of the Week *3/29/2015 - 4/4/2015* April 02 2015, 0 Comments

Novus Planiglobii Terrestris Per Utrumque Polum Conspectus

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By: Blaeu / Valck

Date: 1695 (circa) Amsterdam

Dimensions: 15.9 x 21.1 inches (40.4 x 53.6 cm)

This is an authentic antique map of the world shown in a polar projection, by Blaeu / Valck. The map was published in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum in Vienna, Austria in the year 1571.

This is a scarce early impression of a world map originally produced by the Blaeu Family, but ultimately published by Gerard Valck. Shirley notes that "the projection used - two north and south polar views, each extending to the equator - is not a common one and it has been suggested that Blaeu intended this special map for the Spanish edition of the Atlas Major which was never completed." An unfortunate fire in 1672 destroyed the Blaeu Company and the atlas was never completed. The plate for this map was recovered by Valck and published circa 1695 in his own atlas. In early impressions such as this one, the imprint from the original Blaeu plate can still be seen in the lower cartouche.

The most significant geographical feature of this map is the depiction of California as an island. While there had been numerous maps depicting California as an island before this one, it is the only example by Blaeu to do so. Throughout their existence, the Blaeu Company had consistently projected North America with California attached and the coast jutting to the far northwestern reaches of the Pacific. In this example the northern Pacific includes the land and Strait of Anian and just east of Tartaria, a partial coastline of Compagnie Landt which remained in most maps of the area for around 100 years.

There are many geographic curiosities throughout the map that are worth noting. An early delineation of the Great Lake of North America can be seen by the incomplete large body of water just west of Virginia. In South America, there are two mythical lakes “Parime Lacus,” and “Lago de los Xarayes,” that remained for over 100 years. An incomplete Australia is depicted as being completely attached to New Guinea (labeled Terra dos Papous), while the islands of Tasmania and New Zealand are shown as nothing more than a speculative coastline.

Below the map are two beautifully engraved scenes of Adam and Eve. To the left, Adam is shown resting on a cliff’s edge with eve appearing out from his hip, looking to the heavens. Just right of the decorative cartouche is a scene showing Adam naming the animals. Above the map are animated engravings of the sun and moon with a figure of a sphere centered under the bannered title. Adorning the map are several compass roses and sailing ships.

Condition: Map is in A condition with some light soiling and full margins all around. 

Inventory #18518


Truth About Color June 17 2014, 0 Comments

 By: Joe McAlhany  of   Old World Auctions

Building a Collection: World Maps - Part 1 April 17 2014, 0 Comments

One of our specialties as dealers is helping our clients build a collection based on their interests and budget. Some collections consist on only a few pieces, some may require hundreds to complete. At times collections can be completed over the course of a few months, but many take years to come to fruition. No matter the content, size, time, or budget required to build the collection, there are a few facets that must remain constant between the dealer and collector. Those are honesty, trust, and motivation.

Any collector must believe that the dealer they're working with is always looking for the best deal on the perfect piece for their collection. They must also trust that they are getting that piece for fair price with consideration to the services of time, effort, resource, and knowledge the dealer employs to help build their collection. When the collector believes and the dealer delivers, that is when amazing collections are built.

Such a relationship has been created with one of our clients to build a premier collection of world maps. Throughout the duration of the building of this collection, we will provide the opportunity to view and learn about the maps acquired to create this elite collection of world maps with a focus on various projections.


Universalior Cogniti Orbis Tabula Ex Recentibus Confecta Obsevationibus 

By: Johannes Ruysch                                                   Date: 1507 (published) Rome
 Ref. Shirley, No. 25, Pl. 29                                            Dimensions: 21.5 x 16 inches

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       This is an authentic antique map of the World by Johannes Ruysch published out of Rome in 1507.

       Universalior Cogniti Orbis Tabula Ex Recentibus Confecta Observationibus is more commonly known as the “Ruysch Map.” It is the earliest obtainable map to present the new world. One year earlier Giovanni Contarini – Francesco Rosselli published a map of the world that included the discoveries of America in the same projection. Only one surviving copy of this map is known and it is held in the British Library.

       Ruysch’s map of the world is shown in a fan shaped, conical projection. If one were to fold the map to connect the degrees of latitude on either side, the map would form a 360 degree cone. Throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, many map makers, mathematicians, and astronomers were experimenting with different methods of transposing geographical information from a globe onto a sheet of paper. The conical projection was one of those interesting projections created in that time.

        Ruysch’s map is composed from the various discoveries of the Portuguese, Spanish, and English explorers in America. Columbus’s landing on the Paria peninsula of Venezuela in 1498 is represented by the enormous landmass in the southwest portion of the map. Ruysch adopts Amerigo Vespucci’s name “Mundus Novus,” meaning new world to label the South American continent. Included is an inscription explaining that the Portuguese had followed the coast as far as 50 degrees south. Over 25 local names are labeled along the coast.

        To the north of Mundus Novus are two larger islands with numerous small islands around them. The larger of the two is thought to be Cuba with a scroll that cuts off the western coast, following Columbus’s idea that it was actually attached to the Asian continent. Just east, Ruysch shows the island Spagnola which will later become Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Ruysch named the island after Marco Polo’s Spangu (Japan) and at one point admits that he is puzzled as to its true position.

        In accordance with Columbus’s theories, Ruysch presents the explored regions of North America as land being attached to the Asian continent. Ruysch is thought to have actually accompanied Sebastian Cabot during his 1497 voyage to Newfoundland where their discoveries are represented with the words Terra Nova. This was is the first attested European exploration of Canada since the Viking voyages over 400 years earlier. Greenland to is shown incorrectly connected to the Asian continent by a stretch of mountains. Just off the coast of Terra Nova is the island of Baccalavras whose name derives from the Portuguese word for codfish, the abundance of which just off the coast of Canada was a major motivation for early European voyages to the area.

        Other geographic features of the map worth noting are the representation of the northern polar region and the more accurate rendering of Africa, India, and Eastern Asia compared to the earlier Ptolemaic maps. This map is the first legitimate attempt to present the polar sea. The area is shows as four large islands surrounded by a ring of smaller islands with water flowing throughout. This map and the Rosselli map of the previous year are one of the first maps to show a distinct passage around the southern tip of Africa. Many place names have been added to the coast of India and the theory of the Indian Ocean is not shown as being landlocked as on numerous earlier maps.

        Johannes Ruysch was an astronomer, manuscript illustrator, painter, explorer, and cartographer. Originally from Utrecht in the present day Netherlands, following his maritime experiences, Ruysch became a lay priest and moved to Rome where he became involved in the production of numerous groundbreaking maps. It is thought that at one time Johannes Ruysch lived with Raphael and assisted and advised him on his painting Astronomia as well as other frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican. Ruysch eventually moved to Lisbon where he served as astronomer to the royal court of Manuel I. Johannes Ruysch died at a considerable age in 1533 at the monastery, where he had a room adjacent to the library.