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First map to name ‘America’ for sale at Christie’s

AVNphotolab/iStock/Thinkstock
AVNphotolab/iStock/Thinkstock

(NEW YORK) — Christie’s auction house says it has discovered a previously unknown copy of the first map to name America, and the 510-year-old manuscript will be up for sale next month.

The map not only uses the word “America” as the name for the New World for the first time, but it’s also the first map to show separate South and North American continents and is the earliest recorded printed terrestrial globe, depicting an accurate illustration of the world in 360 degrees in the form of a set of gores, according to a press release from Christie’s on Wednesday announcing the discovery.

The two-dimensional gore map was produced by German cartographer Martin Waldseemuller in 1507 and is one of just five known copies, according to Christie’s.

“The discovery of this unknown copy of the Waldseemuller gores marks the most exciting moment of my 20-year career at Christie’s; his cartographic innovations had an enormous influence in the science of map-making and perhaps most significantly, defined history in naming America,” said Julian Wilson, senior specialist in Christie’s books, maps and manuscripts department in London.

Christie’s said it will sell the map at auction in London on Dec. 13, and the piece is estimated to command between $788,000 and $1.2 million.

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