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IN FRATERNAM MEAM
Thursday, June 09, 2005
EARLIEST AMERICA MAP COULD FETCH $1 MILLION
First using name for New World goes on auction today.

LONDON -- A nearly 500 year old map from the first set to identify the New World as "America" and depict the Pacific Ocean is being auctioned today.

Scholars created the set of maps -- believed to be components of the earliest printed globe-- based on explorer's accounts and had to draw the Pacific Oceans before Europeans discovered it. The work depicts a land mass labeled "America" that corresponds to part of South America.

Christie's auction house expects the map to fetch from US$900,000 to US$1.46 million. Christie's said it's one of only four known surviving examples produced by a group working under German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller.

Made in 1507.

The same group, working in France, also created the much larger and better known wall map bought by the Library of Congress in Washington for US$10 million in 2003. That map, which also uses the name "America" is sometimes called America's birth certificate. The woodcuts for the wall map, and for the map on sale at Christie's were both made in 1507.

Waldsemueller's group derived the word "America" from the name of Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci, who was the first to argue that the land mass discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 was a new continent, and not part of Asia. Waldseemueller and his fellow scholars used an account of Vespucci's voyages to draw their new maps.

Only three others.
The work being sold at Christie's is known as the Waldseemueller Gores and portrays the Earth as a globe. It consists of 12 connected gores-- or sections of a curved surface -- printed on a sheet of paper measuring 7 inches by 14 inches. The gores were meant to be cut out and pasted on to a ball to form a globe.

There are only three other knwon examples of the Waldseemueller Gores; one at the University of Minnesota and two in German libraires.

Christie's said the map to be auctioned belongs to a European collector who discovered it in his collection after reading about the subject in anewspaper two years ago.

Peter Barber, head of maps at the Bristish Library, said the Waldseemueller Gores and wall map were the first to use the name "America" and the first to depict the Pacific Ocean, even though it had not been discovered at the time.

(Associated Press by: Michael McDonough)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:35 PM  
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