Stichting Historische Cartografie van de Nederlanden

Monday, 22 April 2019 

Anecdota Cartografica, waren kaarten en atlassen in de tijd van Ortelius  duur ?

The answer to the question of whether a purchase in the past was as cheap or expensive experienced a thorny issue. A comparison between now and earlier is in many respects flawed. The value of money is different and sometimes varies from decade to decade. The demand pattern is qualitatively and quantitatively many times far apart. The potential buyer base is different and the number of units produced are far apart. The relationship between the past and now in terms of fixed amounts of concrete is virtually impossible. A comparison and thus the establishment of the criterion 'time' or 'inexpensive' is more approximate way.
Restriction is a prerequisite, both in time and in the product. What cards and books we are in the fortunate circumstance that the accounts of the Antwerp printer Plantin Christof part has been preserved and that Denuce large pieces has been published (1). For the period 1560 to 1600, we have therefore a good impression of the prices of maps, atlases and books were requested. In addition there are many individual and data on the income of different people (2). For this treated product 'card' and 'book' is, although only a limited group of persons eligible. This applies equally to the present, books are generally only a small proportion of the population purchased. But the wages of a few people comparing creates an approximate picture of the period available income.

The prices between 1560 and 1600 were generally expressed in dollars and pennies. The relationship between the two is equal to that of the dollar that existed until 2002: 20: 1.
The dollar was at the time of Ortelius a gold coin, since 1521 imported Golden Carolus (the word says the way) of about 3 grams, or a silver coin of about 23 grams (3). There were many coins in circulation, but the government were regularly issued placards' View Naars ie Figuerboecken 'for trade' Manu users', to the value of the coins then in circulation in the currency 'golden' were expressed. In the period 1560 to 1600 was also a serious currency place under the influence of the large imports of gold and silver from South America, also in the increase of prices of maps and atlases were reflected.





population      Daily wage  annual wage

                ca 1600     ca 1600
                in fl       in fl
1 - existence
      minimum 4.5 / 5.5 st 80/100 (support level?)
2 - unskilled
       work      9 / 15 st 90/150
3 - Skilled       14/16 st 140/160 (modal level?)
4 - sailor
      (Navy)      10/11 st 100/110
5 - sailor
      (merchant)  11/13 st 110/130
6 - soldier         5.5 st 110
7 - Printing
      (Plantin)    fl 1.1 220
8 - qualified
       engraver    fl 1.5 300
9 - schoolmaster
       (in Graft)    5.6 st 112
10 - clergyman     fl 2   400
11 - Professor
       in Leiden
       (Cluverius) fl 2.5 500
12 - Professor     fl 3.5 700

Data from Graft ca 1600

(4)                       (guilders)

a - rental house about          7
      per year
b - house sales
      bakery with               400
c - house sales
     cloth merchant             448
d - possession of a very
     wealthy man in             5000
e - selling flourishing
     overlapping inn            900

Data Burgerweeshuis

Deventer                    1615

a - 100 pounds of cheese    6., 22
b - two pig                 5., 10
c - five fat sheep          4., 8

Production Costs
In the creation of maps and books two factors play a decisive role: the production costs and related circulation. Production costs (apart from the land survey) include first and foremost the engraving of the copper plate followed by the highly labor-intensive printing process.
A copper plate, the average size of about 40x50 cm or 2000 cm2. Including all the details first and the transfer of calque and engraved in the mirror boundaries, rivers, place symbols, place names, cartouches, shells, co-ordinates and any ornamental engraving will not be less than 10 minutes per cm2 have either a cost of about 330 working hours and a ten-hour working a full Monday Plantin paid an engraver 2.5 guilders per day or 300 guilders per year.
In 1612 bought Plantin-Moretus along with some maps and some atlases 175 used copper plates of the Theatrum and Parergon the legacy of Baptist Vrients for 12,114 guilders, When the coppers half the total population, means that an amount of 35 guilders per piece (6). Jan Moretus paid around 1620 for making some adjustments in the Parergon maps of an amount of one dollar each. (7).. The engraving was a heavy item in the production.
The printing process was very detailed and labor intensive. For printing a map, the following are needed: the piece of paper wetting, the copper plate ink, wipe away the ink while maintaining the ink in the quarry, the sheet precisely on the copper plate to the press on the sheet out, the printed sheet carefully recording and hang to dry. It is certainly not excessive for this about 10 minutes to count. For an atlas of 100 maps that took 16 hours of work, or two days, maintenance and depreciation of the press not included. The wages of the printing staff were clear from the table are considerably lower than those of the engravers
The cards were later still many times with the hand colored and varnished. A folio card that cost about 4 pence a wall about 12 pc, the coloring of a complete copy of the Theatrum of Ortelius 70 maps (1578 edition) is priced 6 / 8 guilders in 1586 even 10 guilders and the price for an edition with gold and silver added was 36 guilders (8). In relation to the price of a fully uncoloured copy (see table below) was the Coloring expensive.
Then, for the binding of the map in an atlas strips are glued on and sections of rope are tied. The band had to be made around the book block, or the book block had to be hanged in the band. All work together for a atlas with hundreds of cards certainly ten hours or a whole day cost.
The numbers played in determining the cost and therefore also the selling price of the book a decisive role. The modern edition of a book in the field of cartography is a thousand copies a large number. Van den Broecke has an estimate of the number of copies of 35 different editions of Ortelius' Theatrum (a very successful edition) which 7300 copies would have been (9). This means an average of 208 copies per edition. In addition, the expenditure of the Addi tamenta and the Parergon not included. The Addi tamenta even appeared in an average print run of 68 copies. The Parergon which only two separate editions (in 1695 and 1624) were made, had a circulation of 300 copies. It is, however, think that the addit amenta and the Parergon maps bundled in several Theatrum editions published. In the period 1570 to 1624, so 54 years, were there for the Theatrum total 178 copper plates were engraved and printed 730,000 maps, or 4100 copies per copper plate and each year an average 75 cards. Of the 23 copper plates with maps of the Netherlands were devoted, on average only 3450 copies were made or 64 per year. The circulation of maps and books with maps was small and a decisive factor for the price.

A number of prices

When the price of a number below Denuce by the accounts of Plantin over prices of books and maps about 1600 in the light is the light of the wage rate per day, per month or per year, can be estimated more approachable if they were cheap or expensive considered. The separate maps of the provinces of Van Deventer were modest in price and average cost in 1557 half a guilder. But a sailor in the navy or the merchant had to pay for half daily. A soldier and a schoolteacher had more than a daily wage to spend. A pastor or a professor, for a daily folio almost every single card purchase. But for a large wall he paid almost daily and one of the atlases he was good in the stock market cycle. He will have found them expensive. Denuce II, p 55/56 gives an overview of the Plantin from 1570 to 1598 copies of the Theatrum for the price of 5-10 to 26 guilders. Theatrum was the first time a book.
It goes without saying that a modern map in creating more run is printed, no similar offer could be mentioned. For modern people to feel the purchasing power of the golden (golden) and the nickel (silver) , the price of a modern map must be multiplied with a hundred times or more.



It is worth the try to take a closer look at the numbers through this point of view:

A - Maps of Jacob van Deventer and Cornelis Anthonis Son

  year area       sheets      price     Denuce
1557 Friesland peint  9    10 pat    I, p. 20
1557 Hollant paint    9    11 pat    I, p. 20
1557 Flandre paint    4    12 pat    I, p. 20
1557 Brabant paint    6    8 st      I, p. 20
1557 East lant paint  9    8 st      I, p. 20
1565 Oostlant         9    10 st     I, p. 68
1567 Oostland paincte 9    10 st     I, p. 69
1567 Fries Landtheer picta 9 10 st   I, p. 69
1567 Hollandia picta  9    10 st     I, p. 69
1567 Brabant picta    6    10 st     I, p. 69
1568 Friesland        9    10 st     I, p. 22
1568 Flandria         4    5 st      I, p. 69
1568 New Zealand      4    4 st      I, p. 69
1568 Oostlant         9    5 st      I, p. 69

B - single cards folio format (probably from the Theatrum)

1577 the petites cartes une 4 st     I, p. 216
1578 pieces 100 Germaniae
     Inferioris descriptio          2 ½ st II, p. 179
1581 petites cartes du Pais bas     2 ½ st II, p. 187
Antique Belgium 1585
             (= Vetus Belgium 1584) 2 ½ st II, p. 197
1590 26 Caertkens of Theatrum a     2 ½ st II, p. 217
1609 Holland by Saenredam 2 pcs Monumenta
                                                                                                 V, p. 15

C – wall maps Hieronymus Cock 1557 (VDH 6)

1568 1 Netherlands white 3   6 st    I, p. 138
1568 1 Netherlands Cock  3   1-10    I, p. 22
1569 1 Belgica Cock      3   13 ½ st I. p. 138
1570 1 Belgica forum de Cock 3 12 st I, p. 139
1570 1 Paeses Bassos Cock 3    15 st I, p. 139

D - wall Gerard de Jode 1566 (VDH 9)

1568 Gallia Belg     Jode   6   16 st I, p. 212
1568 Gallia Belgica  Jode   6   10 st I, p. 212
1568 Belgica picta a 14 pat 6   14 st I, p. 212
1568 Belgica and bl[ANC]    6   8 st  I, p. 212
1570 1 Netherlands picta    6   13 st I, p. 213
1588 1 Belgia grande 5 leaves 6 10 st I, p. 217

E - wall Philips Galle ca 1578 (VDH 20a)

  1578 Belgica paincte       12  18 st I, p. 248
1579 carta Belgiae latine picta 12 18 st I, p. 248
1584 Nederlandt st 15      12  15 st I, p. 250

F - wall maps Mercator

1566 Anglia Marcatoris afgeset 8 12 pat   I, p. 68
1568 Anglia Mercatoris picta   8 30 st    I, p. 21
1567 Europe Mercatoris picta   15 fl 3    I, p. 21
1570 Europe Mercat. blanc
             and pap[ier]      15 18 st   I, p. 14  
1595 Europe Mercatoris         15 fl.1-10 I, p. 255

G - atlases - Theatrum of Ortelius

1570 Theatrum large paper (uncoloured) fl.7-10 II, p. 53.
1570 Theatrum small paper (uncoloured) fl.5-10 II. p. 53
1582 Theatrum Ortelii francois         fl.13   I, p. 217
1586 Francois Theater for (ongekl.)    fl.16   I, p. 250
1586 Theatrum (colored)                fl.26   II, p. 55
1595 Theatrum hispanicum
             from the great paper      fl.18   I, p. 255
1598 Theatrum (uncoloured) Lat.        fl.23   II, p. 56      
1587 Adittamentum francois Ortelii     fl.3-10 I, p. 250
1606 Parergon charges           fl.6    II, p. 275

H - atlases - the Speculum Orbis Jode (VDH 23)

1579 Speculum orbis G. Judae fo contanti fl.6 I, p. 216
1584 Speculum orbis fo bl white          fl.6 I, p. 217

I - atlases - Mercator, Atlas of the 17 provinces (VDH 30)

1592 Les 17 Provinces fo              fl.2-10   II, p. 322
1597 1 Dix-sept Provinces de Mercator fl.2-14   I,  p. 255
1597 Les 17 Provinces fo pictae       fl.4-10   II, p. 322
1597 Les 17 Provinces bl[ANC] fo      fl.2-6 ½  II, p. 322
1599 Les 17 Provinces fo              fl.2-12 ½ II, p. 323

J - atlases small size - Philips Galle Spieghel der wereld / Miroir du Monde (VDH 19)

1579 Miroir du Monde francois 4o       fl.1-3  I, p. 248
1581 Spieghel der Werelt 4o tot  22 st fl.1-2  I, p. 248
1584 Spieghel der Werelt 4o            fl.1-10 I, p. 250

K - atlases small size - Epitome Theatri Orteliani (VDH 34)

1589 Epitome Theatri latine      32 st fl.1-12 I, p. 252
1590 Epitome Theatri gallice           fl.1-10 I, p. 252
1595 Epitome Theatri italice 8O   44 st fl.2-4  I, p. 255

L - urban atlas Civitates Orbis Terrarum, Braun-Hogenberg

1571 Civitates Orbis de Arnoldus
             Mylius and blancq (1 part)  fl.6-10  I, p. 246
1573 Civitates orbis Terrarum (1 Part)   fl.6-10  I, p. 246
1590 1 stedeBoeck            (4 parts)   fl.26    I, p. 252
                    (= Fl.6-10 per share)
1596 Pour 1 Civitates fo lat picta 4 vol  fl. 50  I, p. 255
                                  (= Fl.12-10 per share)

M - small atlas Itinerarium Belgicum, Hogenberg, 1578 (VDH 31)

1595 1 Itinerarium Belgicum 8O            fl.1    I, p. 254

N - Books - Guicciardini Descrittione dei Paesi Bassi (VDH 24)

1586 Description de Guicciardin fo        fl.7 I, p.250

O - books - Michael von Aitzing de Leone Belgico (VDH 27)

     Leo Belgicus                        fl. 6   I, p. 249
1587 Leo Belgicus fo bl[ANC] aug[men]tes fl.8-10 I, p. 251
1589 Paye pour un Leo Belgicus           fl.9-10 I, p. 252

1590 Leo Belgicus fo                     fl.9-10 I, p. 253

(1) see DÉNUCÉ passim.
(2) see Van Deursen, GROENVELD.
(3) see Enno van Gelder, p. 262.
(4) see Van Deursen 1994.
(5) thanks to mr Nalis in Deventer who provided me this information.

see engraving costs DÉNUCÉ II, p. 89, 137, 266, 276.
see correction copper plate DENUCE II, p. 142
See Colouring cost DÉNUCÉ I.
        p. 109, 1578: 8 belgica Inferior painct 32 st
                1579: 4 Belgica Gallei francois afgeset varnished to 12 st.
        p. 111, 1581: a Afgeset Theatrum Ortelii fl. 8.
        p. 113, 1581: Pour paincture d'une Theatrum Ortelii                                    fl. 10.
                      Afgeset a Theatrum in Spanish with Gold and silver.  36 guilders.
(9) See VAN DEN BROECKE, p. 18/19 and 23/27.


literature where data was collected from:

H. M. BELIËN and others, Gestalten van de Gouden Eeuw, Amsterdam, 1995.
M. P. R. VAN DEN BROECKe, Ortelius Atlas Maps. An Illustrated Guide, Westrenen (NL), 1996.
J. DÉNUCÉ, Oud-Nederlandsche kaartmakers in betrekking met Plantijn, Two parts, Antwerp / Hague, 1910/1912.
A. TH. Van Deursen, Mensen van klein vermogen,Het kopergeld van de Gouden Eeuw, Amsterdam, 1992.
IDEM, Een dorp in de polder. Graft in the 17th century, Amsterdam, 1994.
S. J. FOCKEMA Andreae, Philippus Cluverius geographus Academiensis Leidensis (1580-1623). In: Tijdschrift Aardrijkskundig Genootschap, LXXV, 1958 (on a salary of C. as professor in Leiden).
H. Enno van Gelder, De Nederlandse Munten, Utrecht, 1965.
S. GROENVELD and others, De Bruid in de Schuit, Zutphen, 1985.

VDH with number =
H.A.M. Van der Heijden, Oude kaarten der Nederlanden, 1548 1794
Eckhardt Jäger, Lohn für Zeichner und Stecher von Landkarten. Beispiele aus der Europäischen LandkartenProduktion des 15. bis 19 Jahrhunderts. In: Wirtschaft, Technik und Geschichte, Berlin, 1980.

return to anecdota