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Magnificent $20,000 World Map by Willem Blaeu to show the way at Old World Auctions

The sale, which takes place this month, also features charts, atlases, globes, beautiful vintage prints

Old World Auctions have announced their latest sale which features 948 lots including fine maps, charts, atlases, globes, beautiful vintage prints, medieval manuscripts, and a good collection of reference books. 

One of the highlights, perhaps unsurprisingly, is a work by Willem Blaeu. This is a 1635 world map which Old World Auctions have listed as being in A grade condition.

It is a magnificent map featuring a carte-a-figures border with allegorical representations of the sun, the moon, the five known planets, the four elements and the four seasons.

Willem Blaeu world map
Willem Blaeu's captivating world map

Along the bottom are vignettes showing the Seven Wonders of the World: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus straddling the harbor at Rhodes, the Pyramids, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus at Cairo, the Temple of Diana, the Statue of Jupiter and the lighthouse at Alexandria.

Josua van Ende engraved this map, reducing it from Blaeu's 1605 wall map for inclusion in atlases. Petrus Plancius' world map of 1592 was the main source of geographical information.

The map is shown on Mercator's projection with a massive Southern Continent attached to New Guinea, with the coastal names of Beach and Psittacorum regio noted from Marco Polo's travel memoirs.

North America has the westward bulge characteristic of the time, with the Strait of Anian noted. Korea is shown as an island and Japan is in a kite-like shape.

The map itself is richly decorated with cartouches, sea battles, monsters and compass roses.

The beautiful work is expected to sell for $20,000-$24,000 in the auction which closes on Wednesday, September 14th.


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Image: Old World Auctions

Last updated: 2 September 2011