Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - August - 2012 Issue

Five Centuries of Maps from Jonathan Potter Antique Maps

Summer catalogue from Jonathan Potter.

Jonathan Potter Antique Maps has released their Catalogue Summer 2012. No surprise as to what will be found here – maps. Lots of them. They range from the 15th century to the middle of the 20th. Most are quite old, dating to times when knowledge of geography was still imperfect. One can see the world evolve, at least in the eyes of its beholders, as new discoveries added to mankind's understanding of the world they inhabited. From the 15th century, when to Europeans the known world was a much smaller place, to the discovery of new lands in the East and West, to the refining of the coastlines of these new discoveries, and lastly to understanding the internal regions of these new lands, the evolution of man's understanding of their world can be traced through these maps. Here are some of those steps along the way as seen on the pages of Jonathan Potter's latest catalogue.

We will start with the world as it was known for 1,500 years, perhaps longer, at least to those in the West. There was little difference in the world as it was known in antiquity and at the dawn of the Age of Discovery. In 1493, Hartmann Schedel published his history of the world, known commonly as the Nuremberg Chronicle. Item 1 is the world map from this great work. The world to Europeans had not changed since Greek and Roman times, consisting of Europe, southern Asia, and northern Africa. Schedel's map shows this small world being supported by the three sons of Noah, while various heads blow winds from different directions. Along the side are various strange-looking creatures thought, or perhaps surmised, to live in the far corners of the earth. What Schedel would not have understood as he prepared his work was that a man named Columbus was discovering vast new land masses that would forever change the size and understanding of what was out there. Schedel's map was, in effect, the last look at the ancient Ptolemaic world, soon to be changed forever. Priced at £14,000 (British pounds, or roughly $21,686 U.S. dollars).

Item 4 is a 16th century printing of one of the most important maps ever published, it being one of the first to display the New World. Martin Waldseemuller first published his map of the New World in 1507, calling it “America.” However, when he reprinted it in 1513, he changed it to “Terra Nova,” perhaps recognizing that Columbus, not Amerigo Vespucci, discovered it. By then it was too late. The name “America” had stuck to the land. Laurent Fries republished a smaller size version of Waldseemuller's 1513 atlas four times between 1522 and 1541. Item 4 is taken from the 1541 printing. Fries made some minor changes updating current knowledge, and added a vignette showing some South American cannibals and an opossum. The last two editions of Fries' atlas were published by Michael Servetus, a Spanish cartographer, but also a scientist, humanist, and theologian. That last role got him in much trouble, and reduced the copies of his books available as many were burned. Servetus did not believe in infant baptism, nor did he believe in the orthodox view of the Trinity, arguing that the Trinity represented three aspects of one God, rather than three distinct beings. Such differences could get you in serious trouble in those days, and not even reformist Protestants had much mercy on nonconforming thoughts. Servetus was burned at the stake for his heresies, with John Calvin being a leader in pushing for his execution (Calvin did call for the more merciful beheading, but others overruled his request and burned him alive). £12,800 (US $19,806).

Rare Book Monthly

  • Sotheby’s
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
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    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
    30th May 2024
    Forum, May 30: Potter (Beatrix). Complete set of four original illustrations for the nursery rhyme, 'This pig went to market', 1890s. £60,000 to £80,000.
    Forum, May 30: Dante Alighieri.- Lactantius (Lucius Coelius Firmianus). Opera, second edition, Rome, 1468. £40,000 to £60,000.
    Forum, May 30: Distilling.- Brunschwig (Hieronymus). Liber de arte Distillandi de Compositis, first edition of the so-called 'Grosses Destillierbuch', Strassburg, 1512. £22,000 to £28,000.
    Forum, May 30: Eliot (T.S.), W. H. Auden, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Robert Lowell, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, & others. A Personal Anthology for Eric Walter White, 60 autograph poems. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum, May 30: Cornerstone of French Enlightenment Philosophy.- Helvetius (Claude Adrien). De l'Esprit, true first issue "A" of the suppressed first edition, Paris, 1758. £20,000 to £30,000.
    Forum Auctions
    Fine Books, Manuscripts and Works on Paper
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    Forum, May 30: Szyk (Arthur). The Haggadah, one of 125 copies, this out-of-series, Beaconsfield Press, 1940. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Fleming (Ian). Casino Royale, first edition, first impression, 1953. £15,000 to £20,000.
    Forum, May 30: Japan.- Ryusui (Katsuma). Umi no Sachi [Wealth of the Sea], 2 vol., Tokyo, 1762. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Computing.- Operating and maintenance manual for the BINAC binary automatic computer built for Northrop Aircraft Corporation 1949, Philadelphia, 1949. £8,000 to £12,000.
    Forum, May 30: Burmese School (probably circa 1870s). Folding manuscript, or parabaik, from the Court Workshop at the Royal Court at Manadaly, Burma, [c.1870s]. £8,000 to £12,000.
  • Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Marx, Das Kapital,1867. Dedication copy. Est: € 120,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Latin and French Book of Hours, around 1380. Est: € 25,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
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    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviary, Latin manuscript, around 1450-75. Est: € 10,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    G. B. Piranesi, Vedute di Roma, 1748-69. Est: € 60,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    K. Schmidt-Rottluff, Arbeiter, 1921. Orig. watercolour on postcard. Est: € 18,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Breviarium Romanum, Latin manuscript, 1474. Est: € 20,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    C. J. Trew, Plantae selectae, 1750-73. Est: € 28,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    M. Beckmann, Apokalypse, 1943. Est: € 50,000
    Ketterer Rare Books
    Auction May 27th
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Ulrich von Richenthal, Das Concilium, 1536. Est: € 9,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    I. Kant, Critik der reinen Vernunft, 1781. Est: €12,000
    Ketterer Rare Books, May 27:
    Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung (AIZ) / Die Volks-Illustrierte (VI), 1932-38. Est: €8,000

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