Auction 153, Lot 5

Mercator's Double-Hemisphere World Map - Very Early Example

"Orbis Terrae Compendiosa Descriptio quam ex Magna Universali Gerardi Mercatoris...", Mercator, Rumold

Subject: World

Period: 1587 (dated)

Publication: Gerardi Mercatoris - Atlas sive Cosmographicae

Color: Hand Color

20.8 x 11.4 inches
52.8 x 29 cm

An elaborate strapwork border surrounds this beautiful double-hemisphere map, and an armillary sphere and 32-point compass rose are tucked between the hemispheres. Rumold Mercator based this map on his father's great world map of 1569. The North Pole is depicted as a landmass surrounding a sea from which four rivers radiate and there is a well depicted Northwest Passage. The huge Terra Australis is shown as a part of Tierra del Fuego, and the lands of Lucach, Maletur and Beach (from the travel account of Marco Polo) are noted along the coast in the vicinity of present day Australia with a large island labeled Iava Minor located in the same region. Japan is shown in a kite-shaped configuration, with the fictitious Satyrorum insule (Satyr's Island) shown above. South America has a bulge on its southwest coast, and New Guinea is depicted in a large, circular configuration. The map embodies many ancient authorities and is a wonderful view of classical cartography. Blank verso, published between 1595-1602, the first edition in which this map appeared.

This is a rare, early example that was printed prior to the development of three prominent cracks in the plate at top. In this example there is only a faint hairline crack in the word Terrae in the title.

References: Shirley #157; Portinaro & Knirsch XLVIII; Suarez (Veil) #31, plt. XI; Van der Krogt (Vol. I) #01:1A.

Condition: B+

Excellent impression and color on watermarked paper with minor soiling along the centerfold at top. There are expert repairs to several separations along centerfold, a small chip along centerfold at bottom with a minor amount of neatline replaced in facsimile, and a tear in top right blank margin. Also expertly remargined at left, with a portion of neatline seamlessly replaced in facsimile.

Estimate: $4,750 - $6,000

Sold for: $3,500

Closed on 5/20/2015