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Maps of Africa

Antique maps of Africa are a combination of cartography and creativity. Half reality, half mythology, African maps add a colorful touch to map collections.

One of the earliest maps featuring the entire continent of Africa is a woodcut by 16th-century mapmaker Sebastian Munster from his "Cosmographia Universalis." It features a one-eyed giant, forest in the Sahara desert, and a ship sailing off the coast, a common addition to antique maps. Another notable early African map is "Africae nova descriptio" created in 1630 by Dutch mapmaker Willem Blaeu. It is a fine example of Blaeu engraving, elaborate pictures, and delicate calligraphy with oval cutouts of major African cities and ports. Like other antique maps of virtually unexplored territories, the map is representative of a European perspective of the unknown.

Later maps of Africa following the period of exploration continued a tradition of Eurocentrism. Maps of Africa from the late 1800s in particular reveal the struggle between European powers for the continent, as portrayed in the color-coded occupied territories and ill-defined political borders.


Quick Facts

  • "Africae Tabula Nova" by Abraham Ortelius sold for $2,400 at Old World Auctions in 2009
  • "Africa Prima Tavola" sold at Bonhams for $1,097 in 2011. This engraved map by Giovanni Gastaldi followed an early Ramusio-Gastaldi woodcut of Africa with two added sea monsters in the Atlantic
  • A 1593 engraved map of Africa by Cornelis de Jode with native figures on land and ships and sea monsters at sea sold for $3,108 in a 2011 Bonhams auction

Recommended Items at Auction

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Kitchin, Large Folio - Map of Africa
Mar 02, 10:00 AM CST
Kitchin, Large Folio - Map of Africa
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$1001 Bid
MAP, Africa, La Feuille
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Africa, La Feuille
by Old World Auctions
Est: $150- $180
$801 Bid
J&G Menzies, engraved map of Africa
Mar 06, 10:00 AM EST
J&G Menzies, engraved map of Africa
by Millea Bros Ltd
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
MAP, Africa, Dunlop
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Africa, Dunlop
by Old World Auctions
Est: $160- $190
$1000 Bids
MAP, Africa, Sanson
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Africa, Sanson
by Old World Auctions
Est: $200- $230
$1200 Bids
MAP, Algeria, Stoopendaal
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Algeria, Stoopendaal
by Old World Auctions
Est: $110- $140
$600 Bids
MAP, Africa, Jansson
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Africa, Jansson
by Old World Auctions
Est: $190- $220
$700 Bids
MAP, Morocco, Homann
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Morocco, Homann
by Old World Auctions
Est: $300- $375
$1800 Bids
MAP, Egypt & Arabia, Jansson
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Egypt & Arabia, Jansson
by Old World Auctions
Est: $140- $170
$750 Bids
MAP, Africa, Sanson
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Africa, Sanson
by Old World Auctions
Est: $140- $170
$1000 Bids
MAP, Africa, Sanson
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Africa, Sanson
by Old World Auctions
Est: $110- $140
$800 Bids
MAP, Africa, Mortier
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Africa, Mortier
by Old World Auctions
Est: $450- $550
$2300 Bids
MAPS, Senegal, Dapper
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAPS, Senegal, Dapper
by Old World Auctions
Est: $140- $170
$750 Bids
MAP, Mozambique, Mortier
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Mozambique, Mortier
by Old World Auctions
Est: $400- $475
$2000 Bids
MAP, South Africa, Ullmann
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, South Africa, Ullmann
by Old World Auctions
Est: $190- $220
$650 Bids
French Map of Africa
Mar 05, 12:00 PM EST
French Map of Africa
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $50- $100
$300 Bids
MAP, Morocco, Genicot
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Morocco, Genicot
by Old World Auctions
Est: $120- $150
$800 Bids
MAP, Madagascar, Sanson
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Madagascar, Sanson
by Old World Auctions
Est: $160- $190
$1200 Bids
MAP, Africa, Ptolemy
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Africa, Ptolemy
by Old World Auctions
Est: $110- $140
$700 Bids
Africa. Covens (J. & Mortier P.), Carte D'Afrique..., Amsterdam
Mar 06, 10:00 AM GMT
Africa. Covens (J. & Mortier P.), Carte D'Afrique..., Amsterdam
by Dominic Winter Auctions
Est: £400- £600
£4000 Bids
MAP, Africa, Wit
Mar 12, 3:00 PM EDT
MAP, Africa, Wit
by Old World Auctions
Est: $2,400- $3,000
$1,6000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Maps of Africa


Old World Auctions

Old World Auctions

Dominic Winter Auctions

Dominic Winter Auctions

Il Ponte Auction House

Il Ponte Auction House

Millea Bros Ltd

Millea Bros Ltd