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Abraham Ortelius:  Americae Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio

Maps of America

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Title: Americae Sive Novi Orbis Nova Descriptio

Map Maker: Abraham Ortelius

Place / Date: Antwerp / 1572

Coloring: Hand Colored

Size: 19 x 14 inches

Condition: VG

Price: $5,600.00

Inventory ID: 25077


Nice example of the first state of Oretlius' map of America, from the 1572 German edition of Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, the first modern atlas of the World.

Ortelius map of America is without doubt one of the most recognized and influential maps of America from the 16th Century. The map first appeared in the 1570 edition of Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.  Over the next 42 years (plus an exceptionally rare edition of 1628), it went through three major revisions.

Ortelius depicts the discoveries of a number of explorers, but the general shape of America is derived from Gerard Mercator's 21 sheet world map of 1569. The bulge in South America is the most notable feature of the map, which was not corrected until the third state. The cartouche hides the lack of knowledge in the south Pacific, although the massive Terra Australis Incognita is still very much in evidence, a myth not dispelled until Cook's second voyage.

The West Coast of North America has a wildly inaccurate western projection. This first edition predates the appearance of the Chesapeake, which did not appear until the 3rd state. Also the Solomon Islands and Cape Mendocino and the name California are not added until the third edition.

The present example is a very early state of the highly sought after first edition of the map, which was followed by later editions of 1579 and 1587.  The  editions are easily identified by the presence of the large bulge on the southwest coast of South America (eliminated in the 1587 edition) and the large ship in the Pacific sailing westward (the 1579 edition reverses the direction of this largest sailing ship).  The earliest states of Ortelius' map of America (1570-1574) can be distinguished from the first edition (the third state of the map), by appearance of the longitude grade number 230 on the top of the map, which was removed after 1574. The first edition also includes an irregular dot pattern off the southeast coast of South America, where there was apparently at one time a ship engraved in the Atlantic, but which was removed.

The color in this example of the map would appear to be old color.  There are remnants of color offsetting around two smaller ships in the Pacific Ocean, which are tell tale signs of early color, but it is difficult to say with certainty as the color is generally muted and understated.

An essential map for American Collectors.

Condition Description: Old color, possibly refreshed.

References: Van Den Broecke 11, Burden 64; Schwartz & Ehrenberg 69.

Related Categories:
Maps of America
Maps of America
Maps of the Western Hemisphere