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The £2m atlas that’s wrong October 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts, Books.

The first ever printed atlas, which was almost destroyed by fire two years ago, fetched a record £2.1million at auction yesterday.

The map, based on the tales of explorers 2,000 years ago, was snapped up by a private collector at Sotheby’s, London.

The sale eclipsed the previous best of £1.5million paid last year for a copy of the 16th-century Doria Atlas.

Unsurprisingly, there are a few mistakes in the 529-year-old work.

Scotland is pushed way out east, into the German Sea, and England juts out into the Bay of Biscay.

The undiscovered Americas are absent and the ancient map makes the Earth too small. The atlas was written by the geographer Ptolemy who lived in Alexandria in the 2nd century.

Ptolemy gathered information from the Greeks and Romans into a ‘Geographica’, forming the basis for the world’s first printed atlas, completed in 1477.

The work is part of a collection of 700 documents owned by the late Lord Wardington, of Wardington Manor, near Banbury, Oxfordshire.

The collection has been put up for auction after a fire wrecked the roof of the manor in 2004. The first part of the sale has already raised more than £6 million.

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