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Maps - General

Old maps are valued for their age and their documentation of how the world was perceived before and during the age of exploration. Though distorted and incomplete, many of these rare maps bring thousands at auction. A Willem Blaeu wall map from the 1600s, for example, is valued for its rarity and the differences between the surrounding panels on variations of his maps.

Antique maps tell a story about the motivations of the mapmaker. Maps designed by monks or commissioned by a religious figure would move the center of the world to the holy city of Jerusalem. Wealthy political heads commissioned maps with the result that political borders were falsified. Antique maps often featured the scenes of famous battles depending on who the map was made for. It is possible to date a map by the names and locations of places.

The invention of the printing press made maps available to laymen. Additionally, the explorers stretching the boundaries of the known landscape meant that maps became both more accurate and in demand. Mapmakers who made a lasting name for themselves are Gerardus Mercator, Willem and Joan Blaeu, and the Cassini family.


Quick Facts

  • A four-continents Venice edition Willem Blaeu wall map realized a price of $141,856 at an auction by Christie’s London in 2009
  • "Atlas" by Gerard Mercator printed in Duisburg in 1595 sold for $781,000 at an auction by Sotheby’s in 2006. The Mercator projection technique is still used today to convert the surface of the Earth onto a flat map
  • "A New and Correct Map of the United States of North America Layd Down from the Latest Observations and Best Authorities Agreeable to the Peace of 1783" is the earliest-known map of the United States to be printed in America. Created by Connecticut mapmaker Abel Buell in 1784, it was sold for $1.8 million by Christie’s in 2010

Recommended Items at Auction

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COLLECTION OF ROAD MAPS
Mar 04, 6:00 PM EST
COLLECTION OF ROAD MAPS
by Atlee Raber Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
MAP, North Pole, Mercier
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, North Pole, Mercier
by Old World Auctions
Est: $300- $375
$1800 Bids
BARTHOLOMEWS REVISED HALF INCH CONTOURED MAPS VINTAGE ANTIQUE
Mar 04, 2:00 PM CST
BARTHOLOMEWS REVISED HALF INCH CONTOURED MAPS VINTAGE ANTIQUE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
BARTHOLOMEWS MAPS MIXED VINTAGE ANTIQUE
Mar 04, 2:00 PM CST
BARTHOLOMEWS MAPS MIXED VINTAGE ANTIQUE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
MIXED ORDINANCE SURVEY MAPS VINTAGE ANTIQUE
Mar 04, 2:00 PM CST
MIXED ORDINANCE SURVEY MAPS VINTAGE ANTIQUE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
BARTHOLOMEWS REVISED HALF INCH CONTOURED MAPS VINTAGE ANTIQUE
Mar 04, 2:00 PM CST
BARTHOLOMEWS REVISED HALF INCH CONTOURED MAPS VINTAGE ANTIQUE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
WHEATONS NEW HALF INCH MAPS FOR CYCLISTS AND MOTORISTS DEVON WITH INDEX VINTAGE ANTIQUE
Mar 04, 2:00 PM CST
WHEATONS NEW HALF INCH MAPS FOR CYCLISTS AND MOTORISTS DEVON WITH INDEX VINTAGE ANTIQUE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
THE MOTOROAD MAP VINTAGE ANTIQUE
Mar 04, 2:00 PM CST
THE MOTOROAD MAP VINTAGE ANTIQUE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
OBAN AND KILLIN MAP VINTAGE ANTIQUE
Mar 04, 2:00 PM CST
OBAN AND KILLIN MAP VINTAGE ANTIQUE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids
(11) 1950'S VINTAGE USAF EVASION & ESCAPE PILOT'S RAYON MAPS
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
(11) 1950'S VINTAGE USAF EVASION & ESCAPE PILOT'S RAYON MAPS
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $300- $450
$1500 Bids
MIXED MAP LOT VINTAGE ANTIQUE
Mar 04, 2:00 PM CST
MIXED MAP LOT VINTAGE ANTIQUE
by Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Maps - General


Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Col. Christie Hatman, Auctioneer

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries

Old World Auctions

Old World Auctions

Atlee Raber Auctioneer

Atlee Raber Auctioneer