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The First Issue of the First Edition

World. MUNSTER, S. [Basel, 1540]
Typus Orbis Universalis. 10 3/4 x 14 7/8 inches.
Printer’s crease, else fine condition.


The First Issue of the First Edition

World/ Pacific Ocean. MUNSTER, S. [Basel, 1540] A superb example of the rare first issue of the first edition of this famous, Discovery-era world map. In broad strokes, this evocative work presents the world as it was known by the educated classes of the mid-16th century. As Strauss aptly observed, Munster “taught nearly three generations of laymen most of what they knew about the world beyond their native places.” However, this work also highlights many of the legends and uncertainties that characterized mapping of the period. Shown prominently is the Sea of Verrazano, that portion of the Pacific Ocean that cuts deeply into North America. Also, Newfoundland, Greenland and Iceland form a single landmass that joins with Europe. The visually striking map has the traditional 16th century framework of named wind-heads imbedded in clouds, and two large, sea monsters dominate the southern oceans. It is distinct from Munster’s more common second world map in having an explicit reference to the Northwest Passage (“Per hoc fretum iter patet ad Molucae” or, “By this strait pass through to the Moluccas.”) This first issue can be distinguished from later issues of the first block by the typography of the title (Typus Orbis Universalis, lacking any device after the text.)

Shirley 77.

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