This 1504 engraved globe, made from two joined pieces of ostrich egg, is beautiful as a work of cartographical art, but it also has a special distinction: it may be the oldest known globe in existence that depicts the so-called New World.

The copper Hunt-Lenox Globe, dated circa 1510, was long the oldest known globe to depict South America, Cuba, and Hispaniola. Collector Stefaan Missinne, whose findings were published in the Washington Map Society's journal, The Portolan, now believes that the Hunt-Lenox Globe is a cast of this newly discovered globe.

At this time, however, Missinne's findings haven't been confirmed by others in the field. The Washington Post interviewed several experts in Renaissance-era cartography who seem optimistic about the discovery, but hope that Missinne will provide more details about the globe and that the owner (who may or may not be Missinne himself) will make it available for testing.

You can see more photos of the globe at the Washington Post. Top photo from the Washington Map Society.

Oldest globe to depict the New World may have been discovered [Washington Post via Neatorama]