The oldest original map in the collection is Africa, 1558 by Sebastian
Munster printed from a wood block
Munster was born in Nierder-Ingelheim a small town of the Rhenish Palatinate, on the Rhine between Mainz and Bingen, on 20th January 1488, the son of Andreas Munster. From 1503 to 1508 studied arts and theology at Heidelberg, where he entered the Franciscan Order in 1505. His truly formative years were those from 1509-1518 (or later), when he pursued his studies first under the versatile humanist Konrad Pellikan and subsequently under the Swabian mathematician Johann Stoffler. From 1509 to 1514 or 15, at the monastery of St. Katherina in Rufach in the upper Alsace, and then at Pforzheim, Pellikan, who used the Margarita philosophica of Gregor Reisch as a text-book, was Munster's instructor in Hebrew and Greek, cosmography and mathematics, in fact in almost the whole range of studies to which his mature life was dedicated.
From 1514 or 1515, as Stoffler's pupil at Tubingen, Munster deepened and broadened his knowledge of mathematical geography and cartography; this was Stoffler's special field of interest, and he had himself written a commentary on Ptolemy's Geographia. Munster was allowed to transcribe Stoffler's geographical notes and collections, and from this period dates the Kollegienbuch or lecture-notebook, which throws much light on Munster's early geographical studies, on the source-materials at his disposal, and on his later evolution as a cartographer. The Munster's lecture note book contains extracts from various publications, with Munster's commentary, but also contains a series of 44 maps drawn by Munster. Of them, 43 are derivative of existing printed materials but one, of the Rhine from Basle to Neuss appears to be an original drawing by Munster himself.
The years 1518-1529 form an interlude, incompletely documented, in Munster's life. This was nevertheless a period of strenuous intellectual activity, expressed in numerous publications in hebraistics and by his earliest printed works on cosmography, geography and applied mathematics. In 1524 he was appointed to teach the Hebrew language at the University of Heidelberg; this appointment was ill paid, and it was evidently with no reluctance that Munster accepted an invitation to the chair of Hebrew at the university of Basel, whither he moved in 1529. At Basel he was to spend the rest of his life until his death from plague in 1552. Most of Munster's earlier Hebraistic publications came from the press of Johann Froben, Erasmus's printer; Munster also worked as press-corrector for Adam Petri, who in 1520 printed his German translation of Luther's Wittenberg theses. In 1529, soon after his move to Basel, he left Franciscan Order and adhered to Lutheranism; and in the following year he married Adam Petri's widow, thus gaining for himself a measure of financial security and the services of the substantial printing-house of his stepson Heinrich Petri, who was to produce, sometimes in collaboration with Michael Isingrin, most of his later works. The Basel period, uneventful save for incessant study and publication, an immense correspondence (of which only 50 letters survive), and numerous journeys, saw Munster's emergence as the leading German geographer of his day. As his most recent biographer (Burmeister 1963) points out, his contemporaries thought of Munster as a Hebraist; there is no evidence that he taught geography or the mathematical sciences at Heidelberg or Basel; and he attained the peak of his reputation as a geographer only with the definitive edition of the Cosmographia published in 1550, very near the end of his life.
In 1540, Munster's edition of Ptolemy appeared, illustrated with 48 woodcut maps, the standard Ptolemaic corpus supplemented by a number of new maps, of great significance for the mapping of Europe. It is probably impossible to exaggerate the influence that these maps, his published texts and broadsheet maps had on his successors. Essentially, Munster laid down a challenge: "here is what I know, do you know better ?"
Having completed the Geographia, Munster returned to his pet project, the description of Germany. In 1544, he published the first edition of the Cosmographia, a summary both of Munster's own geographical researches and those of his many correspondents. For the 1550 edition additions included a large number of town prospects. The 1550 edition of the Cosmographia was the final flowering of Munster's work. Both the Geographia and Cosmographia were reprinted in 1552, but they had taken on their final shape. In the middle of 1550, on 26th May, Munster died of plague, bringing to the end the career of this gifted and energetic geographer.
Heinrich Petri, his successor continued to publish new edition of the Cosmographia, as did Heinrich's son Sebastian Henri Petri. Munster's text was much reprinted by other publishers, most notably by Francois de Belleforest, although the maps and plans used to illustrate this edition were taken from more modern sources - Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (1570), and Braun and Hogenberg's Civitates Orbis Terrarum, published from 1572 onwards. Indeed, for the 1588 edition of the Cosmographia, Sebastian Henricpetri substituted new maps taken from Ortelius, but using woodcuts cut in emulation of the copperplate style of Ortelius's maps.
This big map of Africa (+-88cm wide by +-57cm deep) - published in 1680 by
William Berry is in perfect condition and extremely valuable
This map is so rare that this is this only example of this original work by William Berry on Google
The map is "Divided according to extent of its principall parts in which are distinguished one from the other, Empires, Monarchies, Kingdoms, States and Peoples which at this time inhabite Africa." (sic)
It is conservatively valued at US$10,000
1740 - maps of S Africa by Jacques Nicolas Bellin
Title: CARTE DE LA COSTE ORIENTALE D'AFRIQUE
Description: DEPUIS LE CAP DE BONNE ESPERANCE JUSQU' AU CAP DEL GADA.
Shows the eastern coastline of South Africa from Cabo Delgado to Cape Town, including the Mozambique Channel, the Comoros islands, and a portion of the western coast of Madagascar.
(340 x 270 mm), hand coloured, mounted, very good condition.
Title: CARTE DE LA COSTE OCCIDENTALE D'AFRIQUE
Description: DEPUIS LE XI DEGRÉ DE LATITUDE MERIDIONALE JUSQU'
AU CAP DE BONNE ESPERRANCE.
Shows the western coastline of South Africa from Bengala to the Cape Town, with the island of St. Helene noted as well.
(290 x 340 mm), hand coloured, mounted, very good condition.
The Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, showing Hottentot settlements, Salmon: 1742
Carta Geografica del Capo di Buona Speranza
This map of Africa by Thomas Salmon:
The depth and breadth of the information compiled by Salmon was so great that, in order to proceed with publication of his work, he ran the risk of flouting several of the dictates laid down at that time by the Catholic Church. Historical evidence tells us that Salmon had to seek permission to ignore a Vatican imprimatur of 12th June 1766 - however, the contents of the directive contained in that imprimatur are not readily available.
No positive data on Salmon's date of birth or of his immediate family exists and it is extremely likely that Salmon, given the far reaching arms of the Inquisizione throughout Europe in those times, intentionally did not leave too many traces of his identity for interested parties to follow. Given the scope of work which could be contained within 26 volumes and given that the subject matter touched not only upon things natural but also items of a political and moral nature, it is certain that this work would have included many items which were dangerous to debate in those times.
Throughout the entire work Salmon refers to himself as M. Salmon, the 'M' signifying Messer (more commonly Sig. In modern times). He was therefore 'Mr. Salmon' and, in addition to protecting his own identity, he also neglected to mention the name(s) of the person(s) responible for the engraving of the plates. We know, from the quality of the final result, that the engraver was a truly professional artist, gifted with the talents required to produce such a volume of work at such a high level of workmanship. His true name, along with Salmon's, remains a mystery.
This map, which is one page of the two volumes
dedicated to the African continent, does not limit itself to being a 'simple
account' of the Cape coastline, it also draws the reader's attention to such
details as 'The port of Saldanha is more comfortable than that of the Table, but
is lacking in sweet water" Many features of the Cape Winelands are readily
identified - Franschoek (Quartier Francese) and Constantia (Costanza) are
probably the easiest to locate. Further examination of the map discloses many
places as familiar to the African tourist as they are to residents of the
Vaugondy, published in Paris, 1749.
Size: The map measures approx 12" x 9", (31 cm x 24 cm).
Description: This is an original handcoloured antique map which is printed on one side only. The map is printed on good quality thick paper. This map is a genuine antique, 257 years old. The map has the year of publication printed on it.
DIDIER ROBERT DE VAUGONDY c. 1723-86 The Robert de Vaugondys were descended from the Nicolas Sanson family through Sanson's grandson, Pierre Moulard-Sanson; from him they inherited much of Sanson's cartographic material which they combined with maps and plates acquired after Hubert Jaillot's death in 1712 to form the basis for a very beautifully produced Atlas Universel. The old material was much revised and corrected with the addition of many new place names. The elder Robert de Vaugondy, Gilles, is also known as Le Sieur or Monsieur Robert. He was Geographer to the French King.
Condition: The map is in good condition.
Origin: The map is from "Atlas Portratif Universel et Militaire" avec privilege du Roi, published in Paris, 1749.
There are about forty antique maps in the Balson Holdings Family Trust collection