A neat map

We have a 1860 map of Asia hanging in our living room. It's from the centerfold of a book and the neat thing about that map (besides the arcane naming of countries and British colonies) is that it was made in New York. In 1860, most maps of Asia would have been made in Europe. But this map was commissioned by the U.S. Congress and drawn in New York.

Here is another map that gets its value from its association with America. Of course, it's a million times more expensive than the one in our living room. In fact, it is the most expensive art item that the Library of Congress has ever acquired -- so expensive and treasured that it is stored in a vault similar to the one that houses the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Why would the Library of Congress pay $100 million dollars for this map? Because, it's the first ever map that carried the word "America". And of course, the name was a mistake. It was made by Waldseemüller, a German cartographer who mistakenly thought that Amerigo Vespucci had discovered America.

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