As the Old World Auctions’ latest sale comes around, cartography enthusiasts are keenly watching the proceedings. There are 948 lots on offer. These will include maps, charts, atlases and globes, along with vintage prints, medieval manuscripts and reference books. The star of the auction, however, will be a 1635 world map by Willem Blaeu. The map is expected to sell for anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 by the end of the auction on 14 September.
According to Old World Auctions, this world map is in A-grade condition despite its age and is a veritable work of art. The carte-a-figures border adds an artistic appeal to this fine example of cartography. The border depicts the sun, moon, the five known planets of the time, the four elements and the four seasons as allegorical characters.
The border also features beautiful depictions of the Seven Wonders of the World. These were the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus at Rhodes, the Pyramids, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus at Cairo, the Temple of Diana, the Statue of Jupiter and the lighthouse at Alexandria.
The 1635 world map is a reduction from Blaeu’s larger 1605 wall map. The reduction was carried out by Josua van Ende and was included in atlases of the time. Blaeu himself based the map on information from a 1592 world map by Petrus Plancius.
The map differs in significant ways from contemporary maps of the world. There is a large Southern Continent connecting the New Guinea region. Moreover, North America features a large bulge to the west. Towards the east, Korea is depicted as an island, while Japan resembles a kite. Sea monsters, compass roses and battles are peppered throughout the map.