Catalog Archive
Auction 195, Lot 154

Early and Imaginary Map of Alaska and the Northwest Passage

"Limes Occidentis Quivira et Anian", Wytfliet, Cornelis

Subject: Alaska & Western Canada

Period: 1597 (dated)

Publication: Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum

Color: Black & White

11.5 x 9.3 inches
29.2 x 23.6 cm
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This early copper plate engraving depicts the northwestern coast of North America and is generally considered the first map of Alaska, even though it is mostly an imaginary depiction. The general shape of the map is based on Gerard Mercator's world map of 1569. The mythical realms of Anian, Quivera and Tolm fill the interior and numerous place names are shown along the coastline. Several rivers are shown including a large one that flows into the sea to the north, which forms the fabled Northwest Passage. Map is adorned with a spectacular compass rose. First state with date present in cartouche.

References: Burden #107; Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #307-14; Wagner (NW) #189.

Condition: A

A dark impression on a bright sheet with a small coat of arms watermark and light toning along the edges of the sheet. There are a few minute worm tracks in the top margin and small remnants of hinge tape on verso.

Estimate: $1,900 - $2,200

Sold for: $1,700

Closed on 11/15/2023