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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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Collins - Map of Part of Australia
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Collins - Map of Part of Australia
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $100- $200
$2108 Bids
GERMAN MAPS (3)
Oct 31, 8:00 AM EDT
GERMAN MAPS (3)
by Alexander Historical Auctions LLC
Est: $80- $100
$502 Bids
Scrimshaw map powder horn
Oct 29, 9:00 AM EDT
Scrimshaw map powder horn
by Pook & Pook, Inc.
Est: $400- $800
$2001 Bid
Maps (2) of Egypt and Tunisia 1590 Sizes: Carte H=330mm L=500mm Weight (K): 0,28kg Co
Oct 31, 10:00 AM CET
Maps (2) of Egypt and Tunisia 1590 Sizes: Carte H=330mm L=500mm Weight (K): 0,28kg Co
by Goldfield Auction
Est: €100- €200
€800 Bids
BRINKMAN, C.L. Geschiedkundige atlas van Nederland. N.d. (1890). W. 16 maps, some
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
BRINKMAN, C.L. Geschiedkundige atlas van Nederland. N.d. (1890). W. 16 maps, some
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €40- €50
€400 Bids
MEDITERRANEAN -- "GRÆCIÆ ANTIQUÆ Tabula Nova". c. 1730. Cold. engr. map by G
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
MEDITERRANEAN -- "GRÆCIÆ ANTIQUÆ Tabula Nova". c. 1730. Cold. engr. map by G
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €90- €120
€900 Bids
Historical map of Ellwangen an
Nov 06, 10:00 AM CET
Historical map of Ellwangen an
by Historia Auktionshaus
Est: €0- €0
€1000 Bids
Collection of Ledoux's Maps and Catalogs
Nov 16, 12:00 PM EST
Collection of Ledoux's Maps and Catalogs
by Willow Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
19thc Copper Engraving, Mitchell's Map, Canada West
Nov 27, 2:00 PM EST
19thc Copper Engraving, Mitchell's Map, Canada West
by Connoisseur Online
Est: $50- $100
$250 Bids
1765 Map of the Hemispheres
Oct 29, 9:30 AM EDT
1765 Map of the Hemispheres
by Merrill's Auctioneers & Appraisers
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
[MAP]. GUICCIARDINI, LODOVICO. CIVITAS BOMMELIA. [AMSTERDAM...
Nov 20, 10:00 AM CST
[MAP]. GUICCIARDINI, LODOVICO. CIVITAS BOMMELIA. [AMSTERDAM...
by Potter & Potter Auctions Inc.
Est: $60- $90
$300 Bids
Sport Poster Nurburgring Racing Circuit Map North South Concrete Loop
Nov 13, 2:00 PM GMT
Sport Poster Nurburgring Racing Circuit Map North South Concrete Loop
by Antikbar Original Vintage Posters
Est: £60- £120
£400 Bids
Propaganda Poster Map Review 24 India Independence Germany Parliament Education Act 1944
Nov 13, 2:00 PM GMT
Propaganda Poster Map Review 24 India Independence Germany Parliament Education Act 1944
by Antikbar Original Vintage Posters
Est: £45- £90
£300 Bids
Propaganda Poster Map Review 49 Parliament Antarctic Jerusalem Britains Crisis
Nov 13, 2:00 PM GMT
Propaganda Poster Map Review 49 Parliament Antarctic Jerusalem Britains Crisis
by Antikbar Original Vintage Posters
Est: £45- £90
£300 Bids
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2 Pyrography Leather Maps
Nov 03, 10:00 AM EDT
2 Pyrography Leather Maps
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $75- $150
$300 Bids
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Map of Butte Mining Claims, Butte, Montana and Vicinity 1913 [139738]
Oct 31, 8:00 AM PDT
Map of Butte Mining Claims, Butte, Montana and Vicinity 1913 [139738]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $500- $700
$2500 Bids
Map Long Island Belle Terre /Shoreham 1917
Nov 17, 6:00 PM EST
Map Long Island Belle Terre /Shoreham 1917
by Captain Ahab's Antiques
Est: $90- $150
$700 Bids
ENGLISH MAP OF THE ISLAND OF BARBADOS
Oct 28, 9:00 AM PDT
ENGLISH MAP OF THE ISLAND OF BARBADOS
by Abell Auction
Est: $50- $100
$500 Bids
Scotland
Nov 09, 10:00 AM GMT
Scotland
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £400- £600
£3000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Maps - General


Karamitsos

Karamitsos

Antikbar Original Vintage Posters

Antikbar Original Vintage Posters

Burgersdijk & Niermans

Burgersdijk & Niermans