Geographia | Newberry


The Newberry already owned two copies of the 1540 Sebastian Münster edition of Ptolemy’s Geography, but in the way of books in the hand-printed era, there were slight differences between them. This third “copy,” donated by Roger Baskes, differs markedly from the other two. For one, it contains just the maps and not the Ptolemaic tables and text. The maps were bound “broadside,” whereas typical copies of this book have folded maps. Furthermore, it has a distinguished provenance that includes Baron Anselm Salomon von Rothschild (1803-1874). And finally, the maps were splendidly colored by hand and highlighted in gold in the sixteenth century. The total effect is worthy of a volume once in the library of the founder of the Vienna branch of one of the great banking dynasties of the nineteenth century.