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The International Mapsellers Association Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren

Antique Maps

Leen Helmink
International League of Antiquarian Booksellers The International Map Collectors' Society


The Secret Atlas
of the
Dutch East India Company






The Secret Atlas of the Dutch East India Company


We are very pleased to offer a collection of sea charts from the so-called "secret atlas" of the Dutch East India Company.

For many regions in Asia and Africa, these printed maps are the best and the only accurate early maps.

The maps are never in the market, and many collectors have waited a lifetime to find these, they are beyond doubt the non plus ultra of printed maps of the East Indies and the Indian Ocean.

For two centuries, from 1602 to 1799, the Dutch East India Company (VOC: Vereenigde Geoctroieerde Oostindische Compagnie) ruled the waters of Asia and Africa. Accurate charting of these waters was essential for succesful and safe navigation.

The VOC had their own mapmaking office. During the first 150 years, only secret manuscript charts were used, to minimize the risk of spreading the knowledge to competitors. For an example of such a unique manuscript chart that is offered by us click here.

From 1753 onwards, a printed atlas was used, with printed charts to navigate the waters from South Africa to Japan. The atlas was produced by Johannes (II) van Keulen, official hydrographer to the VOC, and was officially known as Part VI of the Zee-Fakkel (Sea-Torch).

There was a variety of reasons to publish the charts in print:
  • In the course of 150 years the knowledge of these waters had leaked out to other European nations and secrecy was of less importance.

  • Printed maps were more accurate and less prone to errors than manuscript copies.

  • Loose maps were impractical and sometimes lost despite the strict policies of use.

  • Last but not least, printed maps were cheaper to (re-)produce than manuscript maps.

The atlas is known as the secret atlas because it was not sold and only used by VOC ships. For these reasons it is extremely rare, and only a few examples have survived.

In addition, the number if charts in the atlas is often limited because ships that did not sail to India/Ceylon or China/Formosa/Japan were given restricted versions of the atlas that did not contain the charts of these areas.

The charts offered here are in pristine collector's condition, no restorations or imperfections. Printed on thick robust double layer paper intended for use at sea. There is no discoloration of the paper. The margins are wide. The copperplate imprints are strong. On offer are the most desirable of maps in the best possible condition.






Click for descriptions and pictures

Prices are quoted in Euro.
Click on any price to convert to other currencies.




Overview Map

van Keulen Far East, Australia 1680 mint SOLD


South Africa

van Keulen South Africa 1753 excellent 4500
van Keulen Cape of Good Hope 1753 mint SOLD
van Keulen Lagoa Bay 1753 excellent 850
van Keulen Mossel Bay 1753 excellent 1250


Central & East Africa

van Keulen Mosambique 1753 mint 2400
van Keulen East Africa - Seychelles 1753 mint 1750


Africa Islands

van Keulen Madagascar - Seychelles 1753 excellent 2250
van Keulen Mauritius (2 maps) 1753 excellent SOLD


Arabia

van Keulen the Red Sea, Yemen 1753 mint SOLD
van Keulen the Persian Gulf 1753 mint SOLD
van Keulen Arabia, Oman, Persia 1753 mint SOLD


India

van Keulen Malabar, Maldives 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Bombay 1753 excellent 2800
van Keulen Coromandel (3 maps) 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Gulf of Bengala 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Calcutta 1753 excellent SOLD


Maldives

van Keulen Maldives (3 maps) 1753 excellent 4500


South East Asia Regions

van Keulen Birma, Thailand 1753 mint SOLD
van Keulen Sumatra (double size) 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Sunda Strait 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Batavia 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Java (double size) 1753 excellent 4250
van Keulen Java - 2 maps 1728 excellent 5500
van Keulen Java, Sunda, Banca 1753 excellent 3500
van Keulen Malaysia, Thailand 1753 mint SOLD
van Keulen Singapore 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Singapore 1753 mint SOLD


Philippines

van Keulen Philippines and Manila (3 maps) 1753 excellent SOLD


Formosa

van Keulen Formosa 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Quemoy (map and profiles) 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Ilha de Prata 1753 mint 850
van Keulen Pehu Islands 1753 excellent 3750


China

van Keulen Hong Kong 1753 excellent SOLD
van Keulen Southern China 1753 mint SOLD
van Keulen Formosa to Japan 1753 mint SOLD
van Keulen Chusan / Zhejiang 1753 excellent SOLD


Japan

van Keulen Nagasaki 1753 excellent SOLD


Australia

van Keulen Australia (double size) 1753 excellent
van Keulen Houtman Abrolhos and Swan River 1753 very good SOLD








Antique Maps Selected Highlights
Antique Maps of the World
Antique Maps of Asia
Antique Maps of America
Antique Maps of Africa
Antique Maps of Australia
Antique Maps of Europe
VOC Secret Atlas Charts


Back to our homepage Contact Us Terms & Conditions Search for items Subscribe to our Catalogues Print this page

The International Mapsellers Association Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Antiquaren

Antique Maps

Leen Helmink
International League of Antiquarian Booksellers The International Map Collectors' Society