Catalog Archive
Auction 174, Lot 525

"Helvetia Prima Rheni et V Nova Tabula", Munster, Sebastian

Subject: Switzerland

Period: 1540 (circa)

Publication: Geographia

Color: Hand Color

13.4 x 9.9 inches
34 x 25.1 cm
Download High Resolution Image
(or just click on image to launch the Zoom viewer)

Sebastian Munster (1489 - 1552) was one of the three most renowned cartographers of the sixteenth century, along with Mercator and Ortelius. Munster's Geographia and Cosmographia Universalis were two of the most widely read and influential books of the period. His editions of Ptolemy's Geographia, published between 1540 and 1552, were illustrated with 48 woodcut maps, the standard 27 Ptolemaic maps supplemented by 21 new maps. These new maps included a separate map of each of the known continents and marked the development of regional cartography in Central Europe. The antique geography was a prelude to Munster's major work, the Cosmographia, which was published in nearly 30 editions in six languages between 1544 and 1578 and then was revised and reissued by Sebastian Petri from 1588 to 1628. The Cosmographia was a geographical as well as historical and ethnographic description of the world. It contained the maps from the Geographia plus additional regional maps and city views with nearly 500 illustrations which made it one of the most popular pictorial encyclopedias of the sixteen century.

This woodcut map is one of the earliest obtainable modern maps of Switzerland. The Alps and forests are depicted graphically. Towns and cities are represented by small castles, including Zurich, Basel, and Bern. Numerous lakes are identified. North is oriented to the right. Published in the 1540 or 1542 edition of Munster's Geographia.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #210-33.

Condition: B+

There is one tiny tear adjacent to the centerfold that has been professionally repaired on verso, along with minor repairs confined to the top and bottom blank margin.

Estimate: $220 - $250

Sold for: $160

Closed on 9/11/2019