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Maps of Europe

Antique maps are distinctive for their time-bound perspectives. Early maps made in Europe in particular tell a story about the motivations of the mapmaker. These flawed and inaccurate representations of the world are typically more rare and valuable than a precise model of geography.

Maps were a luxury of wealthy patrons. Therefore, a map was oriented toward the political or religious personal motivations of the person who commissioned it. Collectors may find it amusing to note the falsified political borders, region centrism, and other idiosyncrasies of these maps. European maps from the Middle Ages were made by monks and are consistently religious in nature, placing Jerusalem at the center. Maps made by monks typically feature extensive decoration with monsters and wild animals lurking at the borders of the known world.

During the Renaissance, the invention of the printing press and the growth of publishing houses made maps available to common people. The Age of Exploration opened up new worlds to map as well. Scientific discovery added to the accuracy of mapmaking and sparked a new interest in the art of cartography.

The Nolli Map of Rome is a groundbreaking work of urban mapping from 1748. Architect and surveyor Giambattista Nolli was a leader in ichnographic mapping, using geometric projections of structures with correct dimensions to show the urban design of the famous city. Modern surveys and satellite images of Rome, a city that has remained largely unchanged over the last 200 years, have proven Nolli’s map accurate to the smallest margin of error.


Quick Facts

  • "Nuova Pianta Di Roma," or Nolli’s Map of Rome, realized a price of $15,000 at a 2012 Christie’s auction. A number of fine reproductions of the work are available for sale
  • Antique maps often feature pictorial warnings of dangers in unfamiliar places. Ptolemy’s Atlas warned of hippos, elephants, and cannibals, while maps portrayed serpents, dragons, dog-headed beings, and men with horns. Interestingly, the famous phrase "Here there be dragons" never appeared on antique maps, although in did appear on the copper Lenox Globe
  • The 1482 Ulm edition of Ptolemy’s Geography atlas "Cosmographia" sold for $810,045 at a 2014 Sotheby’s auction

Recommended Items at Auction

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Thomas - Ram Constellation (Aries)
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Thomas - Ram Constellation (Aries)
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $200- $400
$552 Bids
BIBLIA GRAECA -- VETUS TESTAMENTUM ex versione Septuaginta interpretum. Accur. denuo rec. Summa
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
BIBLIA GRAECA -- VETUS TESTAMENTUM ex versione Septuaginta interpretum. Accur. denuo rec. Summa
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €190- €240
€1901 Bid
Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Olympics. 1959.
Nov 14, 11:00 AM EST
Squaw Valley 1960 Winter Olympics. 1959.
by Poster Auctions International Inc
Est: $800- $1,000
$6001 Bid
'TOWN PLAN OF NUREMBERG' MAP
Oct 31, 8:00 AM EDT
'TOWN PLAN OF NUREMBERG' MAP
by Alexander Historical Auctions LLC
Est: $60- $80
$301 Bid
D-DAY INVASION TAPESTRY
Oct 31, 8:00 AM EDT
D-DAY INVASION TAPESTRY
by Alexander Historical Auctions LLC
Est: $80- $120
$401 Bid
QUEEN ELIZABETH CORONATION PROGRAMME, ALSO TICKET FOR ENTRY, JUNE 1953
Nov 12, 11:00 AM EST
QUEEN ELIZABETH CORONATION PROGRAMME, ALSO TICKET FOR ENTRY, JUNE 1953
by DuMouchelles
Est: $100- $125
$501 Bid
Thomas - River Tigris Constellation (Tigris Fluvius)
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CDT
Thomas - River Tigris Constellation (Tigris Fluvius)
by Trillium Antique Prints & Rare Books
Est: $200- $400
$501 Bid
Camden (William). Collection of maps.
Nov 10, 10:00 AM GMT
Camden (William). Collection of maps.
by Dominic Winter Auctions
Est: £200- £300
£2001 Bid
Three copper etchings, Homann, 18th C., maps of
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
Three copper etchings, Homann, 18th C., maps of
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €250- €500
€2400 Bids
BLAEU, J. Le grand atlas ou cosmographie Blauiana. (Atlas Maior). (Facs. ed
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
BLAEU, J. Le grand atlas ou cosmographie Blauiana. (Atlas Maior). (Facs. ed
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €1,400- €1,500
€1,4000 Bids
WITKAMP, P.H. Atlas van Noord-Holland. Amst., C.L. Brinkman, (1863). W. fine
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
WITKAMP, P.H. Atlas van Noord-Holland. Amst., C.L. Brinkman, (1863). W. fine
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €140- €180
€1400 Bids
AMSTERDAM -- "ACCURATER GRUNDRIS UND PROSPECT der Weltberuhmten Holländischen Haupt und Handels-Stadt
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
AMSTERDAM -- "ACCURATER GRUNDRIS UND PROSPECT der Weltberuhmten Holländischen Haupt und Handels-Stadt
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €320- €400
€3200 Bids
ASIA -- "ASIA". (Amst.), G. & L. Valk, n.d. (c. 1720). Engr. map dep
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
ASIA -- "ASIA". (Amst.), G. & L. Valk, n.d. (c. 1720). Engr. map dep
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €320- €400
€3200 Bids
CHINA -- "L'EMPIRE DE LA CHINE, dressé d'après les Cartes de l'Atlas Chinois
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
CHINA -- "L'EMPIRE DE LA CHINE, dressé d'après les Cartes de l'Atlas Chinois
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €240- €300
€2400 Bids
FRANCE -- "GALLIA". -- "BRITANNIA & Normandia cum confinib(us) regionibus". -- "AQUITANIA australis Regnu(m
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
FRANCE -- "GALLIA". -- "BRITANNIA & Normandia cum confinib(us) regionibus". -- "AQUITANIA australis Regnu(m
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €140- €180
€1400 Bids
LOW COUNTRIES -- "CHARTE VON HOLLAND nach astronomischen Beobachtungen, den Messungen des Schnellius
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
LOW COUNTRIES -- "CHARTE VON HOLLAND nach astronomischen Beobachtungen, den Messungen des Schnellius
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €100- €130
€1000 Bids
LOW COUNTRIES -- "PROVINCES-UNIES DES PAYS-BAS avec leurs Acquisitions dans la
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
LOW COUNTRIES -- "PROVINCES-UNIES DES PAYS-BAS avec leurs Acquisitions dans la
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €130- €160
€1300 Bids
POLAND -- "NOVISSIMA POLONIÆ Regni descriptio" - "PALATINATUS POSNANIENSIS, in Maiori Polonia primarii nova
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
POLAND -- "NOVISSIMA POLONIÆ Regni descriptio" - "PALATINATUS POSNANIENSIS, in Maiori Polonia primarii nova
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €140- €180
€1400 Bids
STUART, M. Romeinsche geschiedenissen. Verkort d. Y. v. Hamelsveld. Amst., J. Allart
Nov 16, 1:30 PM CET
STUART, M. Romeinsche geschiedenissen. Verkort d. Y. v. Hamelsveld. Amst., J. Allart
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €80- €100
€800 Bids
BREDA -- GOOR, T.E. v. Beschryving der Stadt en Lande van Breda. 's
Nov 17, 1:30 PM CET
BREDA -- GOOR, T.E. v. Beschryving der Stadt en Lande van Breda. 's
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €400- €500
€4000 Bids
CHRONICLES -- BEKA, J. de & W. HEDA. De episcopis Ultraiectinis, rec. et notis
Nov 17, 1:30 PM CET
CHRONICLES -- BEKA, J. de & W. HEDA. De episcopis Ultraiectinis, rec. et notis
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €130- €160
€1300 Bids
CLUVERIUS, P. Batavische oudheden, ofte verhandeling over de drie uitlopen van den
Nov 17, 1:30 PM CET
CLUVERIUS, P. Batavische oudheden, ofte verhandeling over de drie uitlopen van den
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €110- €140
€1100 Bids
HEDENDAAGSCHE HISTORIE, of tegenwoordige staat der Ver. Nederlanden. Dl. 23-26: Beschrijving van
Nov 17, 1:30 PM CET
HEDENDAAGSCHE HISTORIE, of tegenwoordige staat der Ver. Nederlanden. Dl. 23-26: Beschrijving van
by Burgersdijk & Niermans
Est: €130- €160
€1300 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Maps of Europe


Bertolami Fine Art

Bertolami Fine Art

Karamitsos

Karamitsos

Burgersdijk & Niermans

Burgersdijk & Niermans

Soler y Llach

Soler y Llach