Fries World
Laurent Fries after Martin Waldseemuller. "Orbis Typus Universalis Iuxta Hydrographorum Traditionem Exactissime Depicta. 1522. L.F." Vienne, [1522]-1541. With a line of offset type along the top, "Tabula orbis cum descriptione ventorum." Woodblock. 11 1/4 x 17 1/4 (neat lines) plus decorative borders and margins. Two sets of contiguous small wormholes at bottom enter well away from image. Very good condition. Ref.: Shirley, 48. Nordenskiold, Facsimile Atlas, XXXIX.

A fine example of the first generally obtainable world map to include the name "America." Many of the maps in Fries' atlas were reduced versions of maps by Martin Waldseemuller in 1513, but this map is based on different sources, as indicated by the initials "L.F." at the end of the title. In this map, Fries continues to show the New World as America, even though in the same atlas he issued a copy of Waldseemuller's map of the region in which he protested that that name should not be applied. Fries was trying to show the most up-to-date information he could, but he made a number of mistakes which he could have avoided. For instance, he shows England and Scotland as separate islands and confuses the Indian subcontinent as two peninsulas instead of home. Fries shows the South American continent with some correctness and also a couple islands in the West Indies, though he did not have the benefit of the information brought back upon the return of Magellan's expedition after this map was first issued. It is interesting to see the contrast of this map to the "Admiral's Map" which appeared in the same atlas. Decoratively, the map is very attractive with copious rhumb lines and a decorative rope border that is intertwined with labels giving the names of the various winds. The same woodblock was used in Strassburg in 1522 and 1525, in Lyons in 1535, and this printing in 1541. Prior to the last printing a crack developed in the wood block that is evident in the central part of south Asia. $9,500

Ortelius World
Abraham Ortelius. "Typus Orbis Terrarum." From Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp: 1608. Plate 3, state 1. 14 x 19. Engraving. Full hand color. 5" repaired tear in lower right and other minor wear in margins; some separation at centerfold. Appearance and overall condition is very good. Italian text on verso. Beautifully framed to museum standards. Shirley: 158.

One of the most famous of world maps, from Ortelius' great work, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Initially published in 1570, this volume was the first that could truly be called an "atlas" in the modern sense of a compilation of maps engraved to a uniform format according to the most up-to-date information available. The publication of the Theatrum also marked the inauguration of the era of Dutch supremacy in cartography. For these and other reasons, Ortelius is called the "father of modern cartography." This map, "Typus Orbis Terrarum," is based upon Gerard Mercator's large world map of 1569. Ortelius' atlas project had the blessing and aid of Mercator, who supplied Ortelius with coordinates of places in America. In the north, islands are shown surrounding the North Pole, and separated from America and Asia by a sea passage, the latter a popular belief in the sixteenth century. In the south, a large "Terra Australis Nondum Cognita" is drawn, separated from South America by the "Estrecho di Magallanes."

In 1587 Ortelius updated this seminal map for the third and last time. South America now assumes a more accurate shape, and the Solomon Isles are marked for the first time. The updated map is also distinctive and especially beautiful for the four medallions in the corners with classical texts, two from Cicero and two from Seneca. The border of this map is as well altered, now with a more intricate and elegant lattice of strapwork and swag. Altogether with the embellishments, rich original color and important information, one of the great world maps of all time. N/A

Abraham Ortelius. "Typus Orbis Terrarum." From Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp: [1589]. Plate 3, state 1. 14 x 19. Engraving. Tiny hole in decorative border and trimmed to neatline around. Very good condition. Latin text on verso. Shirley: 158.

Another example of Ortelius' world map, this one uncolored. $7,800

Mercator World
Gerhard and Rumold Mercator. "Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio." From the Mercator-Hondius Atlas. Amsterdam: Jodocus Hondius, [1613-1630]. 11 1/4 x 20 3/8. Engraving. Latin text on verso. Full hand color. Full margins. Very good condition. Shirley: 157; Van der Krogt: Vol. 1, p. 565: World 1:104; 1:105; 1:107.

Gerard Mercator (1512-1594) ranks as one of the greatest cartographers in history, not only for the extremely fine maps he produced, but also for the innovations which he introduced into cartographic science. Through his constant accumulation of new geographic and cosmological data, Mercator was able to produce the most accurate and current maps of his day, which unlike most of his contemporaries' maps, were mostly original work. In 1569 Mercator issued his famous map of the world with his new projection, a map that is one of the most important in history. As his great atlas neared completion, Mercator gave the job of drawing the maps of the continents and of the world, based upon his earlier maps, to his son and grandsons. His son, Rumold, was given the world map to complete. This map is the most beautiful of all the Renaissance maps which are decorated in the Mannerist style. The superb fretwork around the hemispheres and the intricacy of the orrery and the compass rose in the middle are indicative of the serious nature of this map which served as a frontispiece and index of the entire body of Mercator's work. A great item of Renaissance art and history. $7,800

Visscher World
J. Visscher. "Orbis Terrarum Nova Et Accuratissima Tabula." Amsterdam: N.J. Visscher, 1658. 18 1/4 x 21 7/8. Design of border decorations by N.P. Berchem. Engraving by J. de Visscher. Full, original hand-color. Some staining and wear in margins. Else, very good condition. Shirley, 406.

A fine example of Visscher's double hemisphere world map, a decorative masterpiece with attractive original color. The map is noteworthy for the beautiful border decorations designed by Nicolaes Berchem. The four corners of the map are used to illustrate the four basic elements with dramatic classical scenes: fire represented by the rape of Persephone, wind by Zeus carried across the skies in a carriage drawn by eagles, water by Poseidon with his entourage, and earth by Demeter receiving the fruits of the Earth. So popular was this basic design that Visscher had many imitators, making this map a prototype for Dutch world maps for the remainder of the seventeenth century.

The map is also of interest for its geographical content. In the western hemisphere, California is shown as an island, and there is an unusual representation of 'Anian' as a possible island to the north. The Great Lakes are represented by one single lake open ended to the west, and the Mississippi has not yet really made an appearance. In the eastern hemisphere, stippling is used for the first time on a printed map to indicate a desert, just to the west of the Great Wall of China. At top and bottom between the hemispheres are polar projections, the southern of which shows only the tip of South America. Distinctive, aesthetically superb, and a world map prototype, this world map is most desirable. $7,800

Hondius World map
Henricus Hondius. "Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis Gerographica Ac Hydrographica Tabula." Amsterdam: H. Hondius, 1663. Third state. 14 7/8 x 21 1/2. Engraving. Attractive hand coloring. Full margins. Very good condition. Shirley: 336. Framed.

A brilliantly ornate map of the world from the heyday of Dutch cartography, one of the most desirable of all antique maps. In 1630 the important Jansson-Hondius cartographic enterprise updated and reissued the famed Mercator-Hondius atlas. The world map, which had been left unchanged for thirty-five years, was revised with new geographical information, and also showered with artistic attention. New geographical detail includes part of the north Australia coastline extending towards New Guinea, one of the earliest depictions of the continent. Also shown is a redrawing of northeast Canada, though the old mythical island of Frisland continues to appear. Of particular interest is another geography myth, California shown as an island. In this third state the partially drawn Terra Australis Incognita, a purely hypothetical unknown southern continent, is somewhat erased, reflecting the continued absence of contact with this land by explorers in the southern latitudes.

The map is especially known for its pictorial richness, for it abounds with lavish representations of the four elements and other illustrative detail completely surrounding the two hemispheres. The four corners are taken up with cameo portraits of Julius Caesar, Claudius Ptolemy, Gerard Mercator and Jodocus Hondius. Lively and varied color accentuates the intricate imagery at all points. The Hondius-Jansson world map endured for some thirty-five years as a familiar cartographic document, and thus it stands today as a landmark in mapmaking, as well as a decorative tour de force. $11,500

Homann World
Johann Baptist Homann. "Planiglobii Terrestris Cum Utrog Hemispheirie Caelesti Generalis Exhibitio." Nuremberg: J.B. Homann, ca. 1730. 19 x 21 1/2. Engraving. Original hand color. Some wear along centerfold and some stains in margins. Otherwise, very good condition.

While the French and then the English generally dominated the cartographic world in the eighteenth century, the Homann firm from Nuremberg, Germany was producing many influential maps and atlases during this time. The firm was founded about 1702 by Johann Baptist Homann, who was appointed Geographer to the Emperor in 1715 and who produced this world map about 1730. The topographical information is copious and gives us a graphic picture of the state of geographic knowledge of the world in the first part of the eighteenth century. Of particular interest are the many cartographic myths featured. The most obvious is that California is depicted as an island, but other myths include the large "Terra Jesso" north of Japan, Frisland near Greenland, the River Longue and Lake Apalache in North America, and the Lakes of the Mountains of the Moon in Africa. Quite accurate and current information includes good depictions of those parts of Australia and New Zealand that were then known. It is, however, for the decorative aspects that this map is most popular. The wonderful border, showing in the corners the four elements and top and bottom the two celestial hemispheres, is both elaborately detailed and visually delightful, which gives the map a strong aesthetic impact. $2,400

From Family Cabinet Atlas. Philadelphia: Carey & Lea, 1832. 3 1/2 x 5 3/8. Engraving by P.F. Hamm. Original hand color. Very good condition.

In 1831, Thomas Starling issued his Family Cabinet Atlas in 12mo format, each small map filled with precise detail. A year later, the Philadelphia firm of Henry Charles Carey and Isaac Lea issued their version of this atlas, "Revised, Corrected and Enlarged." The maps were based on the British atlas, but with the plates re-engraved. The hand color and small size makes these maps as charming as they are interesting.

A.C. Webb. "The Commonwealth of Nations--Or, the British Empire." From The Christian Science Monitor. London, April 22, 1937. Chromolithograph. 14 1/2 x 21 1/2. Some light discoloration near centerfold and two repaired tears at bottom. Overall, good condition.

A colorful and historically interesting map showing the British Empire at the beginning of King George VI's reign. Issued in a special color section of the Christian Science Monitor to celebrate the King's coronation on May 12, 1937, the map is a graphic depiction of the empire near its zenith. An outline world map has the British nations bordered in red and elaborately gilded heraldry surrounds. Two quotes, one by Milton and one by Emerson, praise the strength and endurance of the empire. This is ironic in retrospect, as already Ireland was beginning its pull back from the empire and within a decade its decline began in earnest. $250