Two very rare atlases after Claudius Ptolemaeus are the auction’s top lots by value and both were acquired by the present owner’s great uncle in the 1940s from the famous library in Egypt of Dr Max Meyerhoff. Ptolemaeus’ Cosmographia, the second Ulm edition from 1486, translated from Greek into Latin by Jacobus Angelus, is the older of the two Atlases. The maps, printed from the same blocks as the 1482 edition, with headings added, were cut by Johannes of Armsheim, whose name is found at the head of the world map, which is thus the first printed map to be signed, and is also the first to depict Iceland, Greenland and the North Atlantic. All the maps are in contemporary hand-colouring.
The fourth Strassburg edition of Ptolemaeus’ Geographicae Enarrationis libri octo from 1525 includes contributions attributed to German Renaissance artists Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein, amongst the diagrams and decorative woodcut borders. Among the 50 woodcut maps, one in particular includes the first appearance of ‘America’ on a printed map.
Further details can be found in the full press release above.