• The Wolfgang A. Herz Library:  auction at Christies

    Sale 2158

    The Wolfgang A. Herz Library: Important Voyages and Travels

    9 December 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 26

    MERCATOR, Gerard (1512-94). Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura. [Edited by Rumold Mercator (1545-99).] Duisburg: Albert Buys for the author's heirs, 1595.

    Price Realised  


    MERCATOR, Gerard (1512-94). Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura. [Edited by Rumold Mercator (1545-99).] Duisburg: Albert Buys for the author's heirs, 1595.

    Large 2o (407 x 277 mm). 6 parts in one volume. Part I: \Kp\k2 (engraved architectural and emblematic title, letterpress dedication to Wilhelm and Johann Wilhelm, Dukes of Jülich, 2v in first state before the author's portrait but with the verse caption by Bernard Furmer) +4 \Kc\k2 (biography and epitaphs of the author, letters and verse in praise of the atlas, errata); a-d4 (text); part II: e2 (2+1) (engraved architectural and emblematic title Atlantis Pars altera. Geographia nova Totius Mundi, letterpress dedication to Queen Elizabeth and address to the reader), A-E2 (engraved maps of the world and the four continents), I-XIX2 (maps of the North Pole, Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, England, Norway and Sweden), \Kc\k1 (dedication to Heinrich Rantzau) XXa2 (description of Denmark), XXb-XXIX2 (maps of Denmark, Prussia, Russia, the Baltic countries, Transylvania and Ukraine), [XX4] (letterpress index and colophon); part III: +6 (engraved title of Renaissance ornament Galliae tabulae geographicae, letterpress preliminaries), a-d2 e1 f-q2 (maps of France and Switzerland), **2 (index); part IV: +4 (engraved title Belgii inferioris Geographicae tabulae, letterpress preliminaries, 4 blank), r-z & et2 (maps of the Low Countries and Luxemburg), +2 (index, misbound after the title-leaf in part VI); part V: ++4 (engraved title Germaniae tabulae geographicae, letterpress preliminaries, 4 blank), A-F2 Fij2 G-Q2 Qij2 R-Z AA2 (maps of Germany, Bohemia, Moravia, Austria, Poland and Hungary), +++4 (index); part VI: \Kp\k2 (engraved title Italiae, Sclavoniae, et Graeciae tabulae geographicae, letterpress dedication to Ferdinando de' Medici), 1-222 (maps of Italy, the Balkans and Greece), a-c2 (index). A TOTAL OF 107 COPPERPLATE MAPS, all but one (counties of Boulogne and Guines) double-page on full sheets, many with letterpress text on the reverse, the world-map with text on the obverse. Woodcut initials and typographical ornaments. Contemporary vellum over pasteboard, with overlapping edges, double blind fillet on sides, later ties. Provenance: Johann Dücker (17th-century inscription); Heinrich Stinnes of Cologne (purchased from Julius Halle in Munich); bought at Christie's New York, 11 June 1982, lot 264.

    FIRST COMPLETE EDITION of the first truly modern scientific atlas. Parts II-VI had been published separately between 1585 and 1595. Mercator was the most influential geographer since Ptolemy; his maps were original and based on verified observation. In 1569 he invented a new method of projection and his principles have only had to be abandoned after several centuries of use. The title of this edition shows the first use of the name Atlas for a collection of maps. Heinrich Stinnes (1867-1932) was an exceptionally discerning collector of graphic arts and books, as well as modern art; his Mercator, too, is IN VERY FINE AND COMPLETE CONDITION, which is rare for this atlas that saw much use and has often been broken up. Koeman (1st ed.) II, Me 13 tried to distinguish two editions in 1595, but most copies - including those, like this one, unquestionably integral and unsophisticated - contain sheets from his editions A and B in various proportions. The maps are all the same, but the letterpress was added in different operations and frequently show variations in its setting. J. Keuning, "The History of an Atlas", in Imago Mundi IV (1947) pp. 37-43; PMM 100; World Encompassed 134.

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