Claudius Ptolemaeus. Cosmographia. XXVII tabulae geographicae, aera incisse in membranis impresse. Rome: Arnold Buckinck, 1478.
American Geographical Society Collection - Rare Book Room
This edition contains some of the first and finest copper engravings in print. Engraving for this edition began under Conrad Sweynheym in Rome. Sweynheym studied in Mainz, Germany in the early 1460s and with his partner, Arnold Pannartz, founded the first Italian press at Subiaco outside of Rome in 1465. Sweynheym died in 1477, leaving Arnold Buckinck to complete and publish the engravings in Cosmographia one year later.
The book contains twenty-seven maps, each map being printed on two separate leaves facing each other, and printed only on one side. The text appearing in this edition was independently set and was not engraved along with the images as would have been expected.
This copy is one of only two known copies printed on vellum. The other copy resides at the French National Library in Paris.