Apian's $52,000 'early Americas' map brings three times estimate in NY

Our predicted highlight emerged as the star lot in Swann's Maps & Atlases auction in New York on November 29: one of the earliest world maps to show the Americas, by the cartographer and German humanitarian Peter Apian (aka Petrus Apianus, pictured top right).

Entitled "Tipus Orbis Universalis juxta Ptolomei Cosmographi Traditionem et Americi Vespucii Aliorque Lustrationes," Apian's map was produced in Vienna in the year 1520 and was heavily in inspired by the Waldseemüller world map of 1507.

Click here to unfold Peter Apian's map from 1507, sold for $52,800


Fellow German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller's map was the first to use the name "America" - which is also evident there. Apian's map was clearly 'of its time', containing little reference to later geographical discoveries except for "Caliqut" in India.

Swann's condition notes described several short closed marginal tears on the map and some small closed holes at various points. The New York auction house sold the map with a $10,000-15,000 pre-sale estimate.

In the end, it brought considerably more - in fact over three times its higher estimate: $52,800, including buyer's premium. The sale was testament to the ongoing success of rare maps as collectible alternative investments.


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