One of the earliest collectible maps sells online priced $8,000

One of the earliest world maps available to the collector will close for bids on June 2, sold by Old World Auctions based in Sedona Arizona. The auction will be held online.

The 1493 map, by Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514), appeared in the publication Liber Chronicarum and was the last map to appear before the publication of Christopher Columbus's discoveries in the New World.

Schedel, a German physician, historian and cartographer was one of the first mapmakers to use a printing press - and this example was printed a mere 40 years are the invention of printing.

On the map's border, depictions of Noah's three sons, Ham, Shem and Japhet, are depicted holding up the map. The border also includes the 12 winds, with their Latin and Greek names.

Schedel's map design is typical of the Ptolemaic form of the era - with references to the old world, and cross-references between the terrestrial and celestial - with the Indian Ocean completely enclosed by land and a huge depiction of Taprobana (later Sri Lanka).

German cartographer Hartmann Schedel's early map of the world, 1493
(Click to view the whole map)


The map was apparently sourced from the frontispiece of Cosmographia by Pomponius Mela, the earliest Roman cartographer, from 1488.

On the map's verso is a panel of seven fantastic humanoid creatures - offering a fascinating insight into the fertile imaginations of the Chronicle artists about the inhabitants of the world's remotest regions.

Many of the creatures are based on classical writings, while others are based on medieval traveller's tales - with typical examples including a dog-headed man, a hermaphrodite, Cyclops, and a man with his feet on backwards.

According to Old World Auctions, the map has been expertly restored and trimmed at its left to neaten the removal of "an additional panel of monstrosities". A 2.7 inches tear at the map's lower right has also been repaired.

Considering the remarkable place in history that Hartmann Schedel's map holds, it carries a relatively bargain estimate of $6,000-8,000. Bids will open at $3,500, and make this historic map a definite one to watch for collectors, or those on the lookout for a good investment.

A first edition of Schedel's Das Buch der Croniken und Geschichten, the first history of the world published in a language other than Latin, previously appeared for sale at Bloomsbury Auctions in New York, last December, with a considerably higher estimate of $100,000-150,000.


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