Catalog Archive
Auction 189, Lot 3

Early Example of Mercator's Double-Hemisphere World Map with Text Below Map

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

Subject: World

Period: 1587 (dated)

Publication: Atlas sive Cosmographicae Mediationes de Fabrica Mundi...

Color: Black & White

20.8 x 11.4 inches
52.8 x 29 cm
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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, with four columns of Latin text beneath the map under the heading "De Mundi Creatione ac Constitutione Brevis Instructio." These columns of text appeared on examples in the earliest Latin editions of Mercator's Atlas, published in either 1595 or 1602. Unlike later issues, there are no cracks visible in the copper plate.


Condition: B+

A nice impression on a watermarked sheet where the margins have been trimmed to neatline at top and sides. There are a couple small ink stains near the title, a few minor spots, and a printer's crease at bottom right in map image.

Estimate: $4,500 - $5,500

Sold for: $3,250

Closed on 9/14/2022