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The Largest 19th Century Mapping of the Moon

Extremely rare wall map of the moon. The Schmidt map was the pinnacle of nineteenth-century selenography -- nearly 2 meters square, it was a triumph of detail and accuracy.

In 1878, J. F. Julius Schmidt released his work Charte der Gebirge des Mondes, translated as "Charts of the Mountains of the Moon." In this context, "Gebirge/Mountains" does not refer to the conventional peaks and ranges but encompasses a broad array of topographical features visible on the lunar surface, with many craters being described as "ring mountains." Schmidt, often heralded as "the great Schmidt of Athens" during the 19th century, crafted what is considered the most accurate hand-drawn lunar map of his time.

Demonstrating meticulous precision characteristic of German mapmakers of the period, Schmidt detailed an unprecedented number of craters, rilles, and minor elevations, precisely accounting for the features on each of the 25 map sheets he produced. His work involved extensive measurements and estimations, numbering around 1000 of peak heights and crater depths, surpassing the collective efforts of his contemporaries. Remarkably, many of Schmidt's measurements remain unchallenged by modern standards. There are over 33,000 craters depicted (compared to about 7,100 for Lohrmann and 7,800 for Beer and Mädler).

For most of the position measurements Schmidt relied on the work of his predecessors, but he did determine himself the height of over 3,000 mountains, using the techniques invented by his countryman Schröter, whose book had inspired him to take up astronomy in the first place.

The map was published in photolithograph by the Office of the Prussian General Staff.

Condition Description
Large folio (square format). Original printed blue-gray front wrapper laid over cloth-backed drab boards. Portfolio worn, corners of front board chipped. Old dampstaining in portfolio flaps. Title leaf with residue of old paper label. Small unobtrusive private ownership (name) stamp in extreme lower margins of each plate (printed area unaffected) and title leaf. Some minor curling to extreme left-hand edge of some of the plates (printed area unaffected). Besides some minor offsetting to some of the plates and the tiny private ownership stamps, the plates very nice indeed. 25 photolithograph sheets, each sheet 20.5 x 20.5 inches. Loose in portfolio, with the separate title leaf and printed title on portfolio.