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>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