Let's hear it for cartographers. Without map-makers, who knows how we'd find our way around. But they have an easier job of it today, with most of the globe explored, charted, recorded and explored again. Early map-makers struggled against many adversities - imagine traveling to far-off lands and trying to accurately record your voyage, on tiny scale, well enough for the next ship of travellers to follow your route?
And all this before smart phones, too.
The origins of cartography are difficult to pinpoint, as the definitions of maps tend to vary widely from scholar to scholar. But from early cave paintings of geographical directions, to clay tablets originating in ancient Greece and Babylonia, humans have been using meticulous drawings as a means of recording our explorations of the world around us for thousands of years.The possibilities of wide exploration and more accurate cartography rose sharply in the 15th century, with the advent of the Gutenberg printing press, and a growing desire for trade products not commonly available worldwide. Previously, the art of map-making had been heavily intuitive and problematic to replicate or verify. It was in the 15th century that the Roman mathematician, geographer and astronomer Claudius Ptolemy's Cosmographia, originally compiled in the 2nd century AD, was translated from Greek into Latin and became Germany's first published atlas by Lienhart Holl in 1482.
Today, rare and antique maps are highly prized by collectors. Inaccuracies, changing region names and borders and previously held beliefs about the world we live in all contribute to making maps one of the most elegant ways to enjoy the history of our geography.
Please note: quantity on rare items is extremely limited; copies on display may sell quickly.
Atlas that includes 35 full-sheet engraved and hand-colored maps with gilt and argent ornamentation.
An excellent set of the World and Continents, by Hondius and Jansson, two of the Netherlands' greatest cartographers.
The first U.S. map published following Louisiana statehood and in glorious full contemporary coloring.
The decoration to the map includes: sea monsters, a Japanese junk and a Dutch galleon. This map is considered to be a milestone in Japan's cartography
First published in 1694, this map by De Fer was periodically updated with the newest cartographic discoveries. Such updates were usually the result of explorations in the East and West Indies.
This map was originally published shortly before the English occupation of New Netherlands in 1664.
An important foundation map of Texas. Large engraved map on four sheets, joined as two, fine original outline and hand-color.
A very rare mid-19th century large-scale map of New York published to be hung in the city's fire stations.
A map of the United States including every county ennumerated in the Census of 1840.
Herman Moll's "Codfish Map", famous for its educational, large cartouche of the cod industry. Dried cod was a staple for the Royal Navy.
An engraved map on banknote paper, with original hand-color, by esteemed 19th century mapmaker H.S. Tanner.