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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 4, January 27, 2008, Article 18

MORE ON THE DRAKE MAP MEDAL AND THE MERCATOR PROJECTION

Alan V. Weinberg writes: "On the Sir Francis Drake's Voyage
world map medal: I had the pleasure of examining a near mint
prooflike white metal specimen in its original approx 2" x 2"
red plush case of issue at Dave Wnuck/John Agre's table at
FUN.  Its singular defect was slight rim oxidation.  Priced
at a mere $1500 it puts to shame 'rare' Morgan dollars and
double eagles that sell for 100 times as much.

"I'd seen and handled these medals before, but this was only
the 2nd or 3rd I've seen in its original case. This medal
has always been one of my favorites and fits well into either
an American or Foreign numismatic collection. I distinctly
recall that approximately 40-45 years ago in either an early
Numismatic News or Coin World there was an announcement of
an original silver hand-engraved Sir Francis Drake's map medal
(pictured in the article) selling in London at auction for
$50,000 US. I cannot recall if a  buyer was mentioned. Dave
Bowers and contributors to his and co-author Katie Jaeger's
"100 Greatest American Medals and Tokens" book recognize the
rarity/desirability of the original silver hand-engraved
Drake's map medal by listing it as #99 with no value - such
"low" ranking only because the medal is so rare and obscure
few know of its existence and so could not nominate it in
Bowers' survey.

"Whether the silver medal is unique or not, I don't know -
the Bowers/Jaeger book implies it is not.  At $50 grand some
40-45 yrs ago, one would think it is. I'd guess their book's
photograph came from the British Museum, as did a few others."

[The specimen offered by Wnuck/Agre is what initiated this
thread of discussion.  Bowers/Jaeger book states that there
are nine examples known in silver. -Editor]

Alan Weinberg adds: "I am aware of only that single $50 grand
specimen of the silver medal selling 40-45 yrs ago. For me,
this is one of the most desirable historical medals. Should
one appear at auction today in decent condition, I'd speculate
a price well north of $250K would be realized. I find it very
hard to believe there is anything approaching 9 extant, indeed
even 3 or 4."

Bill Malkmus writes: "A comment in the last E-Sylum (taken
from a web page) jolted me like chalk on a blackboard. In the
segment on the Drake voyage map medal, the quotation was made:
"In 1569, Mercator unveiled his famous projection, a new way
of making a map that was designed to show accurate distances
between various points."

"I have no doubt that you will get numerous comments on this,
but just in case everyone else thinks the same, and waits for
others to comment, let me state: The Mercator projection
shows accurate bearings between points, but famously distorts
distances increasingly (and indefinitely) towards the poles.
(The quote above was taken accurately from the website named,
but is unexpectedly in error.)

"Ironically, the Wikipedia site, which has been frequently
(and fairly) badmouthed, seems to have a very careful and
lucid description of the projection, at least on a quick glance."

 ANOTHER DRAKE'S VOYAGE MAP MEDAL
 esylum_v11n03a20.html 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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