Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2009 Issue

Exceptional Antique Maps and Related Material from Martayan Lan

Lan41

Maps, atlases, globes and more from Martayan Lan.


By Michael Stillman

Martayan Lan has issued a new catalogue, number 41, of Fine Antique Maps, Atlases and Globes. Actually, there are a few other items in here, including broadsides and even cabinets, but the title does cover the vast majority of items found within its pages. These are top tier items, including some of the earliest and most important maps ever printed. They go back as far as the 15th century, to the world before Columbus, a much smaller place than the one we know today. Map collecting has become very popular over the past few years, and if you are a participant in this exciting field, you will definitely want to see what Martyan Lan has in store. Here are a few samples.

We will begin at a logical starting point - the first still obtainable map of the world. It is the 1478 Rome edition of the Ptolemaic map of the world. It is perhaps the finest of the early maps, and one which would have been consulted by Columbus prior to his epic journey. Of course, there is no New World here. Only the European continent is seen in full, along with Asia as far east as the coasts of the Indian Ocean, and the northern half of Africa. While Europe, the Mediterranean and Near East are reasonably accurate, the rest of what is shown is only vaguely recognizable, as it slips off into the complete unknown. Item 6. Priced at $175,000.

By the time item 1 was published, a century later, most of the remaining world (saving Australia) was at least rudimentarily known. This is a circa 1581 German etching of Franciscus Draeck, better known as Francis Drake. Sir Francis Drake, that is, though hardly the gentleman one would expect of a knight. Drake was a privateer on behalf of the English, though his Spanish adversaries would have seen him as little more than a common pirate. Drake achieved his status, and was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth, because her share of the jewels and wealth he stole from the Spanish was quite bountiful. Nevertheless, she suppressed most information about him, and kept him holed up on land for many years as he was a sore point with the Spanish, with whom they were then at peace. As to why such a noble looking portrait of Drake would have come from Germany, it should be noted that these states were battling the Spanish at the time, this being an era of spirited Catholic versus Protestant dispute. It is likely he was admired as a foe of their foe. One more thing about Drake - his most notable privateering trip took him around the tip of South America to the Pacific, where he claimed the lands north of Spanish rule for England (the Pacific Northwest). He then continued on across the Pacific to become the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. This portrait shows a determined, strong Drake, grasping a musket in one hand, while a crew loads his ship in the distance. This is the only known contemporaneously colored copy of this rare portrait. $55,000.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> first edition of the earliest extant manual on modern chess, Salamanca, circa 1496-97. Sold for $68,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Carte-de-visite album with 83 images of prominent African Americans & abolitionists, circa 1860s. Sold for $47,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Gustav Klimt, <i>Das Werk,</i> Vienna & Leipzig, 1918. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Man Ray, <i>[London Transport] – Keeps London Going,</i> 1938. Sold for $149,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Jefferson, Letter Signed, to Major-General Nathanael Greene, promising reinforcements against Cornwallis, 1781. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Nicolas de Fer, <i>L’Amerique Divisee Selon Letendue de ses Principales Parties,</i> Paris, 1713. Sold for $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Russell H. Tandy, <i>The Secret in the Old Attic,</i> watercolor, pencil & ink, 1944. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Ernest Hemingway, <i>Three Stories & Ten Poems,</i> first edition of the author's first book, Paris, 1923. Sold for $23,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Walker Evans, <i>River Rouge Plant,</i> silver print, 1947. Sold for $57,500.
  • <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Ernst, Max. <i>Mr. Knife and Miss Fork</i>. Paris, 1932. DELUXE EDITION. Sold for $15,625
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Cage, John. Autograph musical leaf from his Concert for Piano and Orchestra, NY, 1958. Sold for $18,750
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Einstein, Albert. Signed Passport Photo for his US citizenship application. Bermuda, 1935. Sold for $17,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Verard, Antoine. Illuminated printed Book of Hours. Paris, 1507. Sold for $7,500
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Wetterkurzschlussel. German Weather Report Codebook - for Enigma use. Berlin, 1942. Sold for $225,000
    <b>Bonhams: September 25, New York</b>
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Morelos y Pavon, Jose Maria. Autograph letter signed to El Virrey Venegas, February 5, 1812. Sold for $6,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Milne, A.A. Complete set of <i>Winnie-the-Pooh</i> books. 4 volumes. All first issue points. London, 1924-1928. Sold for $5,250
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> A 48-star American Flag, battle worn flown at Guadalcanal and Peleliu, 1942-1944. Sold for $35,000
    <b>Bonhams, June 12 results:</b> Locke, John. Autograph Letter Signed mourning the death of his friend, William Molyneaux, 2 pp, October 27, 1698. Sold for $20,000
  • <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>

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