First edition of the world's earliest modern atlas doesn't feature New Zealand or Australia

By Shivali Best

While most of us are now familiar with the map of the world, when the first atlas was created in 1570, it was considered priceless by adventurers. Photo / Supplied
While most of us are now familiar with the map of the world, when the first atlas was created in 1570, it was considered priceless by adventurers. Photo / Supplied

While most of us are now familiar with the map of the world, when the first atlas was created in 1570, it was considered priceless by adventurers.

A first edition of this precious book is set to go on sale next month, and is expected to fetch around £60,000 ($106,900).

The eagle eyed among you will notice that the hand drawn maps do not feature Australia or New Zealand, as they had not been discovered yet, according to Daily Mail.

The 437-year-old book, called the 'Theatrum Orbis Terrarum', was the first attempt to pull together all the maps of the known world.

It was created by Abraham Ortelius in Antwerp in 1570, although this edition dates back to 1579.

The book compiles uniformed maps of the world logically, arranging them by continent, region and state.

Ortelius' effort, first published in Latin, Dutch, French and German by 1572, became the most comprehensive summary of 16th Century cartography.

Due to their age, the hand drawn maps do not feature Australia or New Zealand, as they had not been discovered.

The world's largest oceans are also filled with depictions of sea monsters.

The atlas is going under the hammer at Sotheby's "Travel, Atlases, Maps and Natural History'" auction in London on May 9, and is expected to fetch around £60,000 ($106,900).

Photo / Supplied
Photo / Supplied

In a description for the auction, a spokesperson for Sotheby's wrote: "This sale will offer some of the greatest Dutch atlases ever produced: Johannes Blaeu's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Amsterdam: 1640-1654), Abraham Ortelius's Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Antwerp: 1579), as well as the L'Atlas ou Meditations Cosmographiques (Amsterdam: 1613), by Hondius and Mercator.

"The sale also features a rare hand-coloured copy of The Theatre of the Empire of Great Britain and Prospect (London: 1676) by John Speed, one of the most famous English map-makers.

"These landmark cartographic works are among the most well-known of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.'"

- Daily Mail

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