Million Dollar Map That Named America Sold at Christie's
First new map of the world,
printed by Martin Waldseemuller in 1507.
LONDON, ENGLAND.- The map responsible for giving America its name sold
at Christie's today for £545,600 / $1,002,267 / €811,852, a world record
price for any single sheet map at auction. The printed map by Martin
Waldseemuller, produced in 1507, is truly groundbreaking.
found at http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=13933
It presents the first
use of the word ‘America’, as well as the first ever printed portrayal of
the Earth as a globe, the first time that the continents of North and South
America had been individually distinguished and the first depiction of a Pacific
Ocean. This is one of four examples of this map in existence, and was discovered
amongst the collection of a European collector after he read about the subject
in a national newspaper. The price realized today represents a world record
price for a single-sheet map at auction. It was bought by Charles Frodsham and
Co. Ltd. In London - a spokesman for the company said that they were 'over the
‘This was one of the most exciting discoveries of my career, and represents
the pinnacle in the history of map making’, says Tom Lamb, Director of
Christie’s Book and Manuscript Department, London. ‘This simple sheet of
paper holds so many new and anticipated discoveries, all created with an
enormous leap of faith by a venerable Geographer in a small town in Lorraine.’
The Great Age of European Exploration and Discovery lasted from 1492 to 1522.
During this period, the greatest explorers from Spain, Italy and Portugal sailed
the seas and returned with stories and information about the New World. Although
history records that Christopher Columbus had discovered America in 1492, he was
convinced that the land mass was Asia. It was another Italian, Amerigo Vespucci,
who argued that the new land to the West was a new continent altogether.
Until this map was published, the conception of the world was based on the
knowledge of the Ancient Greeks. In 1505, Rene II, the Duke of Lorraine,
gathered a group of scholars to the Monastery of Saint Die des Vosges, near
Strasbourg, to work on a new map of the world. These scholars, led by Martin
Waldseemuller, were provided with a French translation of Vespucci’s voyages
that Rene II had received from Lisbon earlier in that year. This account gave
them enough material to start to plot a new map to include the New World to the
West. In 1507, the scholars published a work titled ‘Cosmographiae Introductio’,
which argued the existence of a new land mass to the West. They called this land
mass America, after Amerigo Vespucci. Within a month of publishing the book,
they produced the first map of the world to include the Americas, an example of
which was sold today at Christie's.
This example of the Waldseemuller map was discovered amongst the collection of a
European gentleman, who is a keen collector of books and manuscripts. This
collector recalls that one morning in February 2003, he was reading his
newspaper and drinking a cup of coffee when he noticed an article about
Waldseemuller and his map of the world. He instantly recognized the distinctive
jagged outline of the map, and recalled seeing something similar in his own
collection. After taking the map to his regional Christie’s representative, it
was sent to London where book and map specialists confirmed that it was indeed a
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