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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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Banksy Originale Dismaland Original Park Map
Jun 29, 10:00 AM CEST
Banksy Originale Dismaland Original Park Map
by Art Atelier
Est: €200- €300
€600 Bids
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EXTREMELY RARE! Winter 1948-49 KLM AIRLINES World Route Wall Map, Vintage Travel
Jun 21, 2:00 PM EDT
EXTREMELY RARE! Winter 1948-49 KLM AIRLINES World Route Wall Map, Vintage Travel
by Activity Auctions
Est: $1,600- $2,000
$1,8000 Bids
Large Group Vintage Maps and Atlases
Jul 02, 12:00 PM EDT
Large Group Vintage Maps and Atlases
by Old Kinderhook Auction Company
Est: $20- $30
$100 Bids
A large collection of 1980's maritime Navigational Charts 82 x 102 cm (Qty).
Jun 21, 10:00 AM BST
A large collection of 1980's maritime Navigational Charts 82 x 102 cm (Qty).
by Hannam's Auctioneers
Est: £50- £100
£100 Bids
Isosahedral Map Patent Model
Jul 06, 10:00 AM EDT
Isosahedral Map Patent Model
by Copake Auction Inc.
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
§ DAVID SHRIGLEY (BRITISH, b.1968)
Jun 18, 2:00 PM BST
§ DAVID SHRIGLEY (BRITISH, b.1968)
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£8000 Bids
"Chart Of Part Of The SOUTH SEA", framed 51 x 85cm overall
Jun 23, 10:00 AM AEST
"Chart Of Part Of The SOUTH SEA", framed 51 x 85cm overall
by Leski Auctions Pty Ltd
Est: AUD60- AUD100
AUD200 Bids
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[MAPS] Deacon's Synchronological Chart
Jun 24, 10:00 AM AEST
[MAPS] Deacon's Synchronological Chart
by The Book Merchant Jenkins
Est: AUD160- AUD200
AUD1600 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Maps - General


K&K – Auktionen in Heidelberg

K&K – Auktionen in Heidelberg

Copake Auction Inc.

Copake Auction Inc.

Chiswick Auctions

Chiswick Auctions

Hannam's Auctioneers

Hannam's Auctioneers