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The World according to Mercator—Four Elegantly Engraved maps

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334.     [MAP]. MERCATOR, Michael. America siue India Nova. ad magnæ aui Vniversalis imitationem in compendium redacta. Per Michaelem Mercatorem Duysburgensem [hemispheric map within floral design surrounded by four roundels, from top right clockwise] [1] Golfo mexicano [2] Cuba [3] [title as indicated]; [4] Haiti. [Duisburg or Amsterdam, 1595-1639]. Copper-engraved map, with contemporary outline and wash color (predominately pink and yellow), neat line to neat line: 36.7 x 45.7 cm (overall sheet size: 44.9 x 54 cm), ornate mannerist decoration with intertwining foliage and cornucopias, scale not indicated, stipple engraved seas. Crease at centerfold where formerly folded in atlas, a few minor creases and light toning along blank edges, overall a fine copy in a good impression with excellent original coloring. Attractive gold leaf frame, float framed on natural linen, and adhered to modern backing. With this map are the following maps from the same series, which together constitute the entire world as perceived by Mercator at that time: Africa, Asia, and Europa (similar dimensions, coloring, and condition in matching gilt frames).

     Undetermined edition. The map first appeared in 1595 in Duisburg, with numerous editions as late as 1639. Jodocus Hondius purchased the plates in 1604 and published his first edition in Amsterdam in 1606. All editions were pulled from the original plate, apparently varying only in the Latin or French text on versos. Burden, The Mapping of North America I:87: “After the death of Gerard Mercator in 1594 it was left to his son Rumold to publish the last of three parts that formed his famous atlas, the Atlantis Pars Altera [1595]. The atlas was finished with a number of maps engraved by various descendents of Gerard. The task of the American map was given to his grandson Michael. The only printed map known to be by him, it is beautifully engraved…. The general outline is taken from Rumold Mercator’s world map of 1587, with a little more detail added.” Cf. Goss, The Mapping of North America 19. Lowery 81n. Phillips, Atlases 441. Van der Krogt (Atlantes) 9000:1A. Wagner, Cartography of the Northwest Coast 179. Wheat, Mapping the Transmississippi West #26.

     This elegantly engraved, well-executed map of the Americas records the Dutch sphere of influence in the New World and perpetuates the myth of the Northwest Passage. The “Mare Dulcium Aquarum” probably reflects the first hint of the Great Lakes (see Karpinski, “Fundamental Maps of the Great Lakes” #1, in Maps of Famous Cartographers Depicting North America, p. 81). This famous delineation of the New World includes all of the place names employed during the discovery period. The beautiful insets (including an exquisite little map of the Gulf of Mexico) show in detail the true heart of earliest America, from Florida to Yucatan and the West Indies. California is correctly shown as a peninsula.


Sold. Hammer: $10,000.00; Price Realized: $12,000.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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