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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 16:34 GMT
Rare atlas auctioned for 670,000
Picture of a map by Christopher Saxton
The atlas was printed between 1579 and 1590
A rare copy of the first printed atlas of England and Wales has sold for 669,600 at a Sotheby's auction.

The work, by the Wakefield surveyor Christopher Saxton, also has a rare set of charts depicting Sir Francis Drake's journey to the West Indies and America.

Printed between 1579 and 1590, it runs to 40 pages of maps and plates - a landmark in Elizabethan cartography, a spokesman for Sotheby's said.

The new owner was an anonymous telephone bidder.

The atlas had been expected to sell for between 500,000 and 700,000.

The charts illustrating Drake's voyage across the Atlantic from 1585 to 1586 were made by Giovanni Battista Boazio.

The whole work is regarded as a prime example of early map making, showing for the first time in print a picture of England and its geography.

The book was offered as part of the sale of the library of the Earls of Macclesfield.

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