Alex Clausen and the Fake Waldseemüller Globe Gores

It seems like everyone who evaluated the Waldseemüller globe gores is going to get a profile. The recently discovered gores were going to be auctioned by Christie’s last month until experts found evidence that they were carefully faked copies. That was, as I said at the time, a bombshell. Since then we’ve seen profiles of the experts at the James Bell Ford Library and Michal and Lindsay Peichl; now add to the list Alex Clausen, the gallery director of Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps in La Jolla, California, whose work on the globe gores got profiled this week in the La Jolla Light. The article is a bit breathless in tone, but goes into much more detail than some of the others and is worth your time. Some key points:

  • Clausen guesses that the forgery was done in the 1940s or 1950s (“The prime forgery suspect is Carl Schweidler, whom Clausen calls ‘probably the best paper restorer of the 20th century.’”);
  • The reason why Christie’s was led astray was that one of the reference gores—the Bavarian State Library’s—was also a fake (that latter fact has already come out, but this article doesn’t gloss over its importance); and
  • Barry Ruderman, Clausen’s boss, guesses that this is only the tip of the forgery iceberg.

[Tony Campbell]

The Texas Restorers Who Examined the Fake Globe Gores


Still more coverage of the cancelled auction of the Waldseemüller globe gores that were later identified as fakes, this time from the Houston Chronicle, which pursues the local-interest angle by talking to Michal and and Lindsay Peichl, restorers from Clear Lake, Texas (their firm is Paper Restoration Studio) who were brought in to examine the gores along with other experts. Michal says it didn’t take him long to figure it out:

“My first reaction when I saw the picture was, ‘Oh my God, this is a fake,'” said Michal. “You could tell this was a sheet of paper pulled from a book binding board.

“It was printed on a piece of paper that used to be glued on the back of book and that was a red flag to me because as a forger, if you want to make a fake, that’s where you would go to get a clean sheet of paper.”


Previously: How the James Ford Bell Library Fingered the Fake Waldseemüller Globe GoresWaldseemüller Auction Cancelled After Experts Suspect FakeryMore on the Waldseemüller Globe Gores AuctionSixth Waldseemüller Globe Gore to Be Auctioned Next Month.

How the James Ford Bell Library Fingered the Fake Waldseemüller Globe Gores

More on the cancelled auction of the Waldseemüller globe gores from Minneapolis-St. Paul TV station KARE, which looks at the work by the James Ford Bell Library that raised questions about the authenticity of the gores that Christie’s was set to auction last week. And a seriously buried lede: another set of Waldseemüller globe gores may not be authentic either: “During this process, experts also discovered that a copy at the Bavarian State Library in Germany may not be authentic, as well. Ragnow said that copy matches closely with the 2017 Christie’s one.” [WMS]

Previously: Waldseemüller Auction Cancelled After Experts Suspect FakeryMore on the Waldseemüller Globe Gores AuctionSixth Waldseemüller Globe Gore to Be Auctioned Next Month.

Waldseemüller Auction Cancelled After Experts Suspect Fakery


This is a bombshell. Christie’s has cancelled its upcoming auction of a (supposedly) newly discovered copy of Waldseemüller’s globe gores. Experts found evidence suggesting that the gores were a carefully faked copy of the gores found in the James Ford Bell Library. In today’s New York Times, Michael Blanding (who wrote a book on the Forbes Smiley affairhas the scoop on how the red flags were raised. The auction was supposed to take place on Wednesday; the gores were expected to fetch between £600,000 and £900,000.

Previously: More on the Waldseemüller Globe Gores AuctionSixth Waldseemüller Globe Gore to Be Auctioned Next Month.

More on the Waldseemüller Globe Gores Auction


When the news broke that Christie’s was auctioning a previously unknown copy of Waldseemüller’s globe gores—the sixth known to still exist—I wondered where it came from and how it was found. Christie’s has now posted an article about the globe gores that answers that question.

Waldseemüller’s set of gores was widely reproduced, yet the example to be offered at Christie’s on 13 December was never cut out—which largely explains why it has survived for hundreds of years. If it had been pasted as intended, Wilson says, ‘wear and tear would surely have seen its demise in the intervening centuries.’

Instead of being cut up, this particular map was used as scrap for bookbinding. It ended up among the belongings of the late British paper restorer Arthur Drescher, who died in 1986 and whose family recently came upon the piece.

Here’s the auction listing. The auction will take place on 13 December; the gores are expected to fetch between £600,000 and £900,000.

Previously: Sixth Waldseemüller Globe Gore to Be Auctioned Next Month.

Sixth Waldseemüller Globe Gore to Be Auctioned Next Month

Martin Waldseemüller (Matthias Ringmann). Globe segments, ca. 1507. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.

AP reports that Christie’s will be auctioning “a previously unknown copy” of Martin Waldseemüller’s globe gores on 13 December. This would be the sixth known remaining copy of Waldseemüller’s gores, which were designed to form a small globe a few inches across when pasted onto a sphere. They’re a smaller, less-detailed version of Waldseemüller’s famous 1507 world map, and yes, the globe gores have “America” labelled as well.

No word yet on the provenance of this newly discovered sixth gore; the histories of the previous five are well known. The gores are expected to fetch between £600,000 and £900,000. [Tony Campbell]

Previously: Waldseemüller Globe Gore FoundMore About Waldseemüller.

Pluto Globe Gores

Image credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Sarah J. Morrison. CC licence.

If you wanted to make your own globe of Pluto based on New Horizons imagery, now’s your chance: Sarah Morrison has created globe gores based on NASA’s photomosaic global map of Pluto.

(Globe gores for other planets and moons are available for download from the USGS’s Astrogeology Science Center.)

Previously: Globes of the Solar System.

Waldseemüller Globe Gore Found

Waldseemueller globe gore
During The Map Room’s existence I frequently reported on Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 map of the world, notable because it was the first with the name “America” on it. Dubbed, as a result, “America’s birth certificate,” the last known copy of the large, 12-section map is now on display at the Library of Congress, which paid $10 million for it.

But Waldseemüller also produced small gores, which are used to construct globes; these ones would have been about four inches across. Four of these gores were known to exist, but yesterday Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München announced that they had accidently turned up a fifth copy in their library collection. It differs from the other gores; they believe it to be from a later edition. It can be viewed online here. BBC News coverage. Thanks to Drew for the tip.

If you’re interested in the Waldseemüller map, you’ll want to read The Fourth Part of the World by Toby Lester. I reviewed it in December 2009.