Maps

The value of an antique map is usually determined by the geographical area covered, historical importance, quality of production, size, decorative appeal and rarity.

Maps made during the Golden Age of Exploration (spanning the early 15th to early 17th centuries) are of particular interest to collectors with examples by the 17th century Dutch cartographers Willem Blaeu and his son Joan among the most highly prized.

As well as maps, this category also includes antique atlases, globes, cartographic reference books, travel books, charts and plans.


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BOOKS AND WORKS ON PAPER: Mapping the American Southwest

01 April 2017

Shropshire auctioneer sells ‘cartographic cornerstone’ of Tex-Mex history at surprise £16,500...

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Who lost the continents of Lemuria and Mu?

01 April 2017

'So Geographers in Afric maps With Savage-Pictures fiill their Gaps; And o’er uninhabitable Downs Place Elephants for want of Towns'.

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‘Sundial’ distorts view of the world

18 March 2017

Highly unusual, not to say confusing, but mathematically correct is the view of the world as seen in this untitled map of 1640 that made £4500 in a Dominic Winter (19.5% buyer’s premium) sale of March 1.

Portolan chart by Vesconte Maggiolo

$10m puts TEFAF – and New York – on the map

21 October 2016

Among the undisputed highlights of TEFAF New York Fall is the most expensive map ever offered on the open market.

Paris Metro seats

Eiffel Tower girder among lots up for auction at Drouot

24 September 2016

Fancy owning a piece of the Eiffel Tower, the ceiling from a Parisian boulangerie or butcher’s shop or an old seat from the Metro?

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New Titanic record set at £220,000

06 June 2011

A VERY large, hand-drawn plan of the Titanic, used in the official inquiry after it sank in 1912, has sold for £220,000 at Wiltshire auction house, Henry Aldridge & Son.

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Manuscript map of North America takes £170,000

24 January 2011

THIS exceptional 17th century map, depicting settlements in Canada and North America, was unearthed by Somerset auctioneers Lawrences in the attic of The House of Glennie, near Huntly, Aberdeenshire.

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Record for a map as Buell’s America takes $1.8m

20 December 2010

OFFERED this month at Christie's New York, a copy of Abel Buell's 1784 New and Correct Map of the United States of America... became the most expensive map ever sold at auction.

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Attic find reveals an early guide to Hudson’s Bay

13 December 2010

UNEARTHED in a Scottish attic, this exceptional 17th century map, depicting old fishing settlements in Canada and North America is expected to attract international interest when offered at auction in Somerset in January.

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All at sea for the first time and earning a £52,000

18 December 2007

A copy of the earliest printed sea atlas sold for a record £52,000 to a Dutch dealer in an Anderson & Garland sale of November 28.

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Shapero bids record £1.9m for first printed atlas

16 October 2006

When Sotheby’s sold the first portion of the Wardington library of atlases and geographies last year, London dealer Bernard Shapero set a cartographic auction record by paying £1.3m for the ‘Doria’ atlas, a superb collection of so-called Lafreri School maps of the latter part of the 16th century.

Dealer admits rare map crime spree

04 July 2006

THE notorious map thief Edward Forbes Smiley III has appeared in court in the US where he admitted to stealing 97 antique maps worth more than $3m.

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£1.3m atlas in pole position

25 October 2005

BY IAN MCKAYWRITING about some of the more important items in his peerless private collection of atlases and geographies, the late Lord Wardington said of the Doria Atlas: “I just hope that it... will prove to be as good an investment in the future as I might have made in stocks and shares.”

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The State that never was...

09 September 2004

IN 1784, settlers in what is now North Carolina and eastern Tennessee put together a plan for a new state that was to be named in honour of Benjamin Franklin.

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Too many tourists

01 September 2004

HOW many dealers, I wonder, dread, rather than dream of, their business area being “discovered”? Long before Covent Garden became a trendy mecca for international tourists, one of the familiar attractions for habitués was London dealer Arthur Middleton’s distinctive shop in New Row, full of early globes and all sorts of antique scientific instruments.

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Provenance and craftsmanship overcome risk of overexposure

10 August 2004

AS its title suggests, the June 30 sale of scientific, medical and engineering works of art held by Christie’s South Kensington (19.5/12% buyer's premium) was something of a mixed bag. The 216-lot auction incorporated anything from 18th century microscopes and preserved amphibians to delft barbers’ bowls and scale models of locomotives.

On the streets, on the roads and on the run from press gangs...

13 May 2004

THE opening map and atlas section of the Bonhams Bath sale of April 26 included a copy in rebacked contemporary calf of the first and only published volume of the 1675 first edition of John Ogilby’s Britannia with its general map and 100 engraved strip road maps, at £7000.

Lewis & Clark and that highly significant overland map...

27 August 2003

Though no direct relationship has yet been established, there are very obvious similarities between the manuscript map reproduced right and one of the more significant maps in American history, the engraved map, right lower, found in the History of the Expedition under the Commands of Captains Lewis and Clark... in 1804-06.

Coming up at Thomas Mawer & Sons.....

26 August 2003

THE fascinating pocket sundial, right, dated to 1585 and attributed to the Elizabethan mapmaker Augustine Ryther (1550-93) is to be offered on September 25 at the Lincoln rooms of Thomas Mawer & Sons. Although Ryther was better known for his map engraving, he also created a number of high quality brass instruments, of which only two have so far been documented.

In a haven of tranquillity…

08 April 2003

Topographical views of Valetta Harbour, Malta, continue to be one of the most solid performers in the salerooms. The latest quality example to turn up in the provinces was this signed Girolamo Gianni (1837-1887) oil on card, right, offered at the Chichester rooms of Stride’s (15% buyer’s premium) on February 28 with an estimate of £4000-6000.

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