This 16th century world map dates back to 5 centuries ago and has hit the market for a hefty $10 million. The map is in fact very well preserved with beautiful decorations in different colors even silver and gold ink. What’s more, the map is for the time when people thought of North America as a narrow stretch of land!
A unique moment in the history of New York, a 16th century world map hits the market. It’s not only the first map ever to depict the New York Harbor, but the most expensive map on the market ever. According to Crouch Rare Books, the map is on sale with a giant price tag of $10 million.
A work of a famous Italian map maker, Vesconte Maggiolo, this 500-yeal-old map pays rare attention to both detail and beauty.
The map was in obscurity for a long time, sitting rolled-up in a castle in Switzerland for several hundred years.
In 1983, an English collector outbid the Library of Congress and bought the map from an aristocratic Swiss family.
And now, Daniel Crouch, a map collector, is selling the map for a sweet $10 million at New York’s TEFAF art fair, which opened to the public on October 22.
Measuring 6.7 feet wide and 3 feet tall, the map has been created on vellum made from six goat skins. That’s why Crouch, who has also placed the map in an aluminum frame, believes it to be ‘practically indestructible’.
The Map is Unique in Every Sense of the Word
There are several important features that make the map stand out. First, since it remained rolled-up for much of its five century existence, the colors are in a very good condition.
Second, it’s one of the oldest maps to depict the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan, the famous Portuguese explorer.
Ultimately, it’s for the time people imagined America as a narrow sliver of land to the right of Pacific Ocean.
Beautiful Decorations and Colorful Imaginations
On the map, the words are written in two directions, so you could see the map from two view angles. This indicates that the map was to unroll and sit on a table.
Once open, the decorations with dragons, elephants, unicorns, kings and castles draw so much attention.
The Map is Obsolete albeit Priceless
However much the map is colorful and beautiful, when it comes to positions, it could also be widely inaccurate.
To put it differently, it’s not your typical image of today’s standard maps which you can use while travelling. Especially, you’d better avoid using this 16th century world map while in North Carolina, because you might end up in a mythical sea!
The mythical “Sea of Verrazano” is in fact today’s Pamlico Sound which Giovanni de Verrazzano mistook it for the Pacific Ocean. Interestingly, back in the early 16th century, map makers didn’t believe America was broad at all. They thought of it as a narrow sliver of land, just to the east of the Asian continent.
No one knows how many mariners have lost their way while using this map near the mythical sea of Verrazano. No matter what, the map is precious in terms of examining the 16th century people’s ideas of what the world was like.
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