1478 Ptolemy & Buckink Antique Map of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India - Oldest Map on the Market

Cartographer : Claude Ptolemy

The first printed book, with maps, was published in Bologna, Italy in 1477. The maps were engraved by Taddeo Crivelli (active 1451 - 1479) after the text of the famous 1st century Alexandrian cartographer Claude Ptolemy. Only 26 editions of this atlas were printed with all remaining editions, today, in institutional hands.
In the following year 1478, the second atlas was printed, again after Ptolemy, in Rome by Conrad Sweynheym & completed by Arnold Buckink. These maps are considered far superior in detail and quality to the 1477 1st edition and are the earliest maps available to the modern day collector.

This map was printed only 23 years after the invention of the first moveable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, in 1455. The invention of this printing method is without doubt one of the most significant in mankinds history. It signaled the end of selective learning and the beginning of mass education and thought.

This map of what is today Pakistan, Afghanistan and parts of India, the 9th in the Asian series of Ptolemy\'s 27 maps, was published by Arnold Buckinck in Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini philosophi Geographiam Romae after the death of his predecessor Conrad Sweynheym.
Considering this is one of the earliest books ever published the typeface and characteristics of these maps and text are extraordinary. Of the engraved editions of Ptolemy’s Geographia the maps in the Rome edition are some of the finest and only beaten a 100 years later by Gerard Mercator in his 1578 edition of Geographia.
This large map is in fine condition, on strong sturdy and stable paper the printing is heavy and clear. The colour is original, clear and bright. There is some light discolouration to the paper, along with some light soiling two thirds down the center of the map with some show-through on the verso. Overall in fantastic condition and a unique addition to any collection.

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Blue, pink, red, green, yellow
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 22 1/4in x 16 1/2in (565mm x 420mm)
Plate size: - 22 1/4in x 16 1/2in (565mm x 420mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)

Margins: - Light discolouration, restoration to top join above title.
Plate area: - Centerfold re-joined, discolouration 2/3rds down center
Verso: - Light soiling

The first published edition of Ptolemy\'s Geographia with maps, engraved by Taddeo Crivelli, in Bologna, 1477. Unusually, this edition contained 26 maps, with one of the Asia maps divided up among three neighbouring sheets. With the exception of Palestine, these are the first regional maps of any of these various countries.
Unfortunately for the publishers, this atlas was not a commercial success, and today only twenty-six examples of the atlas are recorded.
One explanation of the failure, is that the publishers do not seem to have been fully mastered the intricacies and problems of engraving, and printing from, copper-plates, an art, which, after all, was very new and experimental. These problems were more successfully addressed by a German printer, Conrad Sweynheym, who was working on an edition of Ptolemy in Rome in the same period. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the volume appear, but his successor, Arnold Buckinck, saw the atlas through the press, in 1478.
The Rome Ptolemy contained 27 maps, with the same geographical coverage as the 1477 Ptolemy. Of the engraved editions of Ptolemy’s Cosmographia the maps in the Rome edition are the finest fifteenth century examples, and second only to Mercator’s maps, from his 1578 edition. One explanation for this was the use of individual punches to stamp letters onto the printing plates, rather than engraving them. This allowed much greater uniformity than lettering-engravers were able to achieve, and gives a very pleasing overall effect. The atlas proved popular, and three successive editions (to 1508) followed, although only about forty examples of the first edition are recorded today.