Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - December - 2009 Issue

Fine Antique Maps from Martayan Lan

Martayan43

An outstanding collection of maps from Martayan Lan.


By Michael Stillman

Martayan Lan has presented their Catalogue 43 of Fine Antique Maps and Atlases. This is a fabulous collection, including some of the earliest obtainable maps of the New World. Around half of the items are focused on the Americas, the remainder on other portions of the globe (or the entire globe). There are even a few extraterrestrial maps (that is, celestial maps), a few portraits of great mapmakers (Ortelius, Mercator and Hondius) as well as Indian portraits, and some atlases. We will focus on maps of America and the New World, but those who collect maps of other territories, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Arctic, will also find plenty to keep themselves occupied. Here are a few of the outstanding items Martyan Lan is serving up.

We will start with the world as it was known pre-Columbus. It had not changed much since Ptolemy's day. Item 3 is the 1493 map Secunda etas mundi, by Hartmann Schedel, taken from his Nuremberg Chronicle. This is the world Columbus would have known prior to setting sail. There is a Europe, Africa and Asia, but no America. The map contains images of various grotesque semi-human creatures, such as were imagined to exist in the far corners of the world. Martayan Lan notes that these images Europeans had of the inhabitants of far away lands led to their demonizing these people, and treating them poorly when the Europeans colonized their lands. Priced at $28,000.

There may have been no America in 1493, but by 1507, there was a large continent, at least in the southern hemisphere. Item 2 is the Johann Ruysch map of that year, Universalior Cogniti Orbis Tabula. Martayan Lan describes this map as "one of the Holy Grails of map collecting." It is the earliest acquirable map to show America. The Ruysch map shows a massive South American continent, but North America is not there, or almost not there. With the limited information available, Ruysch believed it was an extension of Asia. So, Newfoundland is the eastern most tip of Asia. Hispaniola is located approximately where it should be, but Ruysch concluded this must be Marco Polo's Japan. It is believed that Ruysch was the first cartographer of the New World to have actually been there, having traveled on some expedition at the turn of the 16th century to Newfoundland. Price on request.

Item 11 is a Blaeu world map, Nova Totius Terrarum Orbis, circa 1650. Naturally, the world was much better defined by this time, but there are two noticeably large errors. While Willem Blaeu had enough information on the east coast of North America from the English, French, and Dutch to portray it with some degree of reality, the other side of the continent, and most of its interior, were essentially unknown. The continent appears larger than Asia. Meanwhile, the great myth of the 16th through 18th centuries (pre-Cook) is displayed in all its glory - a massive southern continent larger than any other in the world. $25,000.

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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