170921 3 Ptolemaeus

A copy in contemporary binding of the famed 1513 Ptolemy atlas, featuring the first printed map of America, offered for $1.25. Geographie opus novissima traductione e Greco cum archetypis castigatissime pressum by Claudius Ptolemaeus, Martin Waldseemüller.

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Four exhibitors at the New York International Antiquarian Book Fair are jointly offering a collection of books chronicling the discovery of America compiled over 25 years by R David Parsons (1939-2014).

Peter Harrington (London), William Reese Company (New Haven), James Cummins Bookseller (New York) and Horden House (Australia) are selling all items individually.

The collection covers the earliest European encounters of the ‘New World’ from the era of Christopher Columbus until the first half of the 19th century. Among the highlights is the 1513 Ptolemy atlas, the first to contain a map of America, which is offered for $1.25m

171473 Ramusio All 3 Fore Edges CS

The Pillone set of Ramusio, adorned with painted fore edges by a pupil of Titian, including the earliest printed account of Verrazzano's “discovery” of New York harbour (1550).

It also includes Waldseemuller’s book which first named ‘America’, eye-witness descriptions of the North American mainland by Fr Juan Diaz, the first printed description of Brazil in Vespucci’s Mundus Movus.

The catalogue The Discovery of America marks the 500th year since Giovanni da Varrazzano became the first European to sail into New York Harbour.

171477 Waldseemuller Front Pastedown CS

An early edition (1509) of Martin Waldseemüller’s Cosmographiae, the first book to name America in print.

British-born Parsons lived and worked in Atlanta, Georgia, and was an active member and supporter of several libraries. In the catalogue, dealer Derek McDonnell of Hordern House recalls that he started working with Parsons on the collection in the 1990s. At the time, Hordern would often share a stand with William Reese Company of Connecticut.

In 2005 and 2006, Hordern sold two catalogues of Parsons’ collection focusing on Pacific voyage books. Following his premature death, the firm acquired the collection from his widow Mary Parsons along with the William Reese Company, which is now jointly owned by Peter Harrington and James Cummins.

Nick Aretakis, manager of William Reese Company says of the books: “Their value lies not only in their rarity but in the profound insight they offer into a pivotal chapter of history. “It's our hope that these catalogues will serve as fitting tributes to the extraordinary legacy of David Parsons as a collector of early exploratory texts.”