Index To All Maps & Books
Map Conditions & Descriptions
Useful Map Links
following are normally used to describe each map:
Maker: This is the person most
often associated with a particular map based on
of Publication: The city where the
map (and its atlas) was printed.
Where a map can be precisely dated, that date is
used. Often, the first publication date of the
described map will be cited followed by the
actual date of the map being described. E.g. If
the map first appeared in 1606 and the map being
described is from 1612, then the listing would be
(1606) 1612. Where the map date is approximate,
then c. (circa) is used.
Map Title: A quick identification title
for a map is sometimes used. E.g.
"Munsters Upside Down Europe".
The title is given verbatim, often in full or, if
too long, with sufficient wording to easily
identify the map. (
) indicate if a
portion of the title is omitted.
Process: Generally, a woodblock
print, a copperplate or steel plate engraved
print, or a lithograph.
If the color was applied at the time of printing,
then original color will be used. This original color may
be in full body color or in outline color, If there
is doubt about the age of the color, then colored,
full body color, or fine handcoloring will be
used. No attempt is made to describe color as
either early or modern. Sometimes, if a cartouche
was traditionally left uncolored (as for example, Homanns maps), that will be mentioned.
Maps were originally colored for esthetic reasons and to improve
readability. Original colors most often used were green, pink,
orange & yellow for political sub-divisions, red to identify cities and
towns, green for forests, brown for mountains, and blue for seas, Many
maps were not colored before they were bound into an atlas or book.
Often, uncolored maps have had color added at some time after the maps
were removed from their atlases. If uncolored maps had color
applied in a skillful and historically accurate manner, it is often
difficult to distinguish these maps from original color maps.
Skillfully applied modern color enhances the beauty and thus the value
of many maps.
Many people assume that
original color maps are more finely colored than maps colored in more
recent times. This is often not true. We find that modern
color or the re-touching of original color is generally more carefully
applied than the application of original color. Original map colorists
were often paid on a piecework basis, thus they often rushed,
occasionally omitting or mis-applying some color. In fact, we often use
the fineness of the application as an indicator of modern color when we
are not completely certain if a map has original or modern color.
Also over time, original color maps often can have some oxidation, smudging, or
sticking of the folded pages.
The dimensions are given in millimeters from
neatline to neatline. First the height and then
the width is given. There are often dimensional
variations among the exact same maps due to paper
shrinkage or expansion.
Information such as the maps special
features, cartographic importance, etc. are
mentioned in the map narrative.
Where ever possible, a common carto-bibiographic
reference is used to enable interested persons to
obtain further information on the described map.
Nothing is more subjective than describing map
condition. Even though all the maps are in at
least reasonable collectible condition,
information on map condition and especially flaws
are mentioned. Where flaws are noted, subsequent
repairs are mentioned. The following is a summary
of the system of describing map condition:
- The highest classification we use. These maps
are clean and bright with a strong map image.
- These maps generally have a clean, sharp image.
Paper quality and margin size may vary somewhat.
These maps may have some minor flaws (stichholes,
wormholes, minor age toning, minor centerfold or
other separations not effecting map image) often
depending on print date. E.g. many early 16th
century maps such as those by Munster were often
printed on poor quality paper; some early
map-makers had their map margins closely shaved,
Good - No significant
imperfections. Flaws and repairs are noted.
Noticeable imperfections but still in a
collectible condition. Foxing, weak map image,
and/or long separations are mentioned.
Many factors determine the price of a map such as:
Condition often is most important (unless a map is rare and/or
represents a highly sought after region), though an unthinking
attention to condition can cause you to miss some interesting maps
that, in all other ways, appeal to you.
If other factors that effect cost are present, a map's scarcity will
effect the cost. However, scarcity by itself does not always
directly equate to cost.
Usually maps of the Americas and world maps are the most expensive
simply because the largest numbers of people collect maps from these
regions thus effecting supply and demand. Also, maps of
certain vacation destinations (Caribbean, Bermuda, Malta, etc.) also
have large numbers of collectors. Probably the most
undervalued pre-1700 maps are maps of regions of Europe,
Africa, and Asia by Ortelius, Mercator, Blaeu, and Hondius. These are
often beautiful and interesting maps.
importance: Sometimes a particular map may show the
first appearance of a certain event such as the change of a region's
rule from one colonial power to another. This can effect cost.
Maps by Ortelius, Mercator, Blaeu, and Hondius appeal to a
large number of people and thus are widely collected increasing
Esthetics and various
intangibles: Particularly beautiful color, large
cartouches, sea monsters, ships, and other decorative elements all
can increase those interested in certain maps thus increasing the
cost of these maps. An example of this is Abraham Ortelius'
map of Islandia (Iceland)..
Some Last Words of
Advice: We suggest you buy
what appeals to you personally. Acquire reference books and
make an effort to learn as much as possible about your maps (what
they show, what is omitted, why, etc.) and the maps' makers.
Join a map society, discuss map collecting with dealers and fellow
collectors, and attend talks & symposia on antique maps. Following these simple guidelines will give you many years of
pleasure with your maps.
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Dr. Richard L. & Penelope W. Betz