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article imageThe world's oldest star charts go under the hammer

By David James Young     Mar 21, 2011 in Science
London - In just over a week, a Sotheby's auction in London will sell off what is believed to be the world's oldest printed star maps in existence - with an estimated price of nearly £200,000.
The woodcut star chart, which depicts a map of the northern sky, was drawn by Albrecht Dürer, a Renaissance artist from Germany.
Dürer created the charts in 1515 as a commercial venture, in partnership with two astrologers - another German, Heinfogel; and Vienesse Johannes Stabius.
The charts are regarded as a major undertaking of the time, often copied and referred to within astrological circles.
It is also known for its accurate placing the stars of the 48 constellations, which were identified by the Greek scholar Ptolemy some 1,300 years earlier.
Currently, there are only ten known copies that remain of these charts, all of which are found within the collections of either academics or museums.
Additionally, only three of these known copies feature the contemporary hand colouring like the chart which is set to go under auction.
The Guardian reports that the charts will be auctioned off on March 30, along with other assorted works of Dürer's.
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