Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2009 Issue

Old Maps from George Ritzlin Antique Maps

Ritzlin29

There are lots of old maps in this latest catalogue from George Ritzlin.


By Michael Stillman

We recently received Catalog 29 from George Ritzlin Antique Maps and Prints. George and Mary Ritzlin are map experts from Evanston, Illinois, and while this is the first of their catalogues we have received, they have been in the map business since 1976. The Ritzlins note that this year marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first turning his telescope to the sky, making this the International Year of Astronomy. You might wonder what this has to do with maps, but maps are no more limited to the surface of the earth than are spaceships. They can carry you as far as your imagination can wander. Many of these maps, coming from long ago when much of the earth's surface was little known, certainly would have stirred the imagination of their viewers, hungry for knowledge of what lay beyond the frontier. Here are a few of the maps the Ritzlins are offering.

Item 3 presents the world as it was known, or imagined, in the late 17th century. Hubert Jaillot's Mappe-Monde-Geo-Hydrographique from 1696 repeats a few of the great misconceptions of the day. One was that California was an island, a belief that did not arise until the latter part of the 17th century, and was discredited by the early 18th. Jaillot also shows broken lines to acknowledge the existence of a great southern continent, a belief not disproved for almost another century when James Cook investigated the area. As was typical of the time, the American Northwest is largely a blank, though Jaillot imagined it reached almost all of the way to Japan. Priced at $4,000.

The Dutch mapmaking family of the Blaeus was among the greatest cartographers ever. Their atlases are spectacular. Item 12 is a circa 1638 print of their map Americae. This map of the Americas did not make the later mistake about California, though it, too, showed a much more westward extending North America, whose interior was largely unknown. The map is surrounded with insets of American natives, from southern Indians to fur-clad northerners. $10,000.

Item 51 is a 1739 map of Africa by H. Moll. Unlike the previously described maps that made no attempt to show the interior features of the American Northwest, Moll provides surprising detail of rivers and lakes in the interior of Africa. That's interesting as Europeans would have had little knowledge of what was actually there at this early date. Then again, no one could have disproved the mapmaker's claims either. $300.

Item 21 is a Map of the Progress of His Majesty's Armies in New York... from Gent's Magazine, published in 1776. The map denotes the defeat of the "Provincials," and the "Retreat of the Rebels." The British must have been feeling quite confident at the time. They had not many years ago routed the French from North America, and the ragtime Continental Army would have appeared to be no match. $350.

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.

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