Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2005 Issue

Antique Maps From Martyan Lan

R1211

Fine Antique Maps... from Martyan Lan.


By Michael Stillman

Martyan Lan
has released its 34th catalogue, featuring "Fine Antique Maps, Atlases and Globes." Maps, atlases and globes are much more difficult to write about than books. Books are, essentially, text, while maps are visual. How do you describe the Mona Lisa in words? You don't, at least not adequately. So what follows is a few very inadequate descriptions of the material available. Map collectors will need the catalogue to begin to appreciate what is being offered.

Starting right from the top, item 1 is a 1632 Champlain map, Carte de la Nouvelle France... Champlain, of course, was more than a mapmaker. He was an explorer who had the personal experience to design his maps of the New World. This map of "New France" covers much of what is today Canada, New England, and the northeastern United States. It is also the first to show the Great Lakes as a network of lakes. Champlain depicted five separate lakes at a time when others still showed one large one. It isn't perfect, and he didn't get Lake Champlain right, but it was far ahead for its day. Priced at $120,000.

Item 34 is a three-map sheet by Ortelius from 1584. One map is of La Florida. What is remarkable about this map is how accurately Florida is depicted. Later maps would be far less true, some almost unrecognizable. Martyan Lan notes that some maps as late as the mid-18th century were less accurate. $3,000.

An example of deterioration in mapping is the 1600 Quad map Novi Orbis pars Borealis, America Scilicet, complectens Floridam... By this time, Florida had evolved into two peninsulas. There is much else that's highly inaccurate, including a straight, clear Northwest Passage that so many vainly sought. Item 21. $4,500. By 1636, Dutch mapmakers Jansson and Hondius were generating a more accurate North America in America Septentrionalis. They had the good sense to leave most of the northwestern part of the continent blank, rather than invent something. However, they did adopt one inaccuracy that developed at the time: they show California as an island. Maybe after the next major earthquake it will be, but not yet. Item 22. $8,500.

Speaking of California, it was still attached to the mainland in 1598. This rare Metellus map, Granata Nova Et California, is based primarily on Spanish sources. It predates the 17th century island myth and is thereby more accurate than some of the maps that succeeded it. Item 53. $5,500.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions