Maps

The value of an antique map is usually determined by the geographical area covered, historical importance, quality of production, size, decorative appeal and rarity.

Maps made during the Golden Age of Exploration (spanning the early 15th to early 17th centuries) are of particular interest to collectors with examples by the 17th century Dutch cartographers Willem Blaeu and his son Joan among the most highly prized.

As well as maps, this category also includes antique atlases, globes, cartographic reference books, travel books, charts and plans.


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Too many tourists

01 September 2004

HOW many dealers, I wonder, dread, rather than dream of, their business area being “discovered”? Long before Covent Garden became a trendy mecca for international tourists, one of the familiar attractions for habitués was London dealer Arthur Middleton’s distinctive shop in New Row, full of early globes and all sorts of antique scientific instruments.

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Provenance and craftsmanship overcome risk of overexposure

10 August 2004

AS its title suggests, the June 30 sale of scientific, medical and engineering works of art held by Christie’s South Kensington (19.5/12% buyer's premium) was something of a mixed bag. The 216-lot auction incorporated anything from 18th century microscopes and preserved amphibians to delft barbers’ bowls and scale models of locomotives.

On the streets, on the roads and on the run from press gangs...

13 May 2004

THE opening map and atlas section of the Bonhams Bath sale of April 26 included a copy in rebacked contemporary calf of the first and only published volume of the 1675 first edition of John Ogilby’s Britannia with its general map and 100 engraved strip road maps, at £7000.

Lewis & Clark and that highly significant overland map...

27 August 2003

Though no direct relationship has yet been established, there are very obvious similarities between the manuscript map reproduced right and one of the more significant maps in American history, the engraved map, right lower, found in the History of the Expedition under the Commands of Captains Lewis and Clark... in 1804-06.

Coming up at Thomas Mawer & Sons.....

26 August 2003

THE fascinating pocket sundial, right, dated to 1585 and attributed to the Elizabethan mapmaker Augustine Ryther (1550-93) is to be offered on September 25 at the Lincoln rooms of Thomas Mawer & Sons. Although Ryther was better known for his map engraving, he also created a number of high quality brass instruments, of which only two have so far been documented.

In a haven of tranquillity…

08 April 2003

Topographical views of Valetta Harbour, Malta, continue to be one of the most solid performers in the salerooms. The latest quality example to turn up in the provinces was this signed Girolamo Gianni (1837-1887) oil on card, right, offered at the Chichester rooms of Stride’s (15% buyer’s premium) on February 28 with an estimate of £4000-6000.

Mapping & Moon Gazing

28 February 2003

A Ptolemaic world map from the Nuremburg Chronicle was sold for £12,000 (£7500) as part of a December 12 sale of maps and prints held by Swann, while bid to $6000 (£3750) was the Map to illustrate Prince Maximilien of Wied’s Travels in the Interior of North America reproduced right.

Valuable stolen atlases were broken up and maps sold off

28 October 2002

UK: A man who stole two extremely rare atlases to remove maps and sell them individually over the Internet has been jailed for 15 months.

Heirisson’s 1801 Swan River map sells for £160,000 as part of the £1.57m Freycinet Collection

08 October 2002

Bligh relics sold as part of the Travel Week at Christie’s, attracted national media headlines, but the most successful of this series of four sales was the Freycinet Collection, which on September 26 raised a premium-inclusive total of £1.57m.

World map from a fine copy of John Seller’s Atlas Maritimus..

27 August 2002

Slightly shaved at the lower margin, this is the world map from a fine copy of John Seller’s Atlas Maritimus.., which contains 20 double-page charts “describing the sea-coasts, capes... in most of the known parts of the world”.

Terrestrial globe of 1688

24 July 2002

Certainly the most expensive Coronelli globe ever sold, and quite possibly the costliest single globe of any kind at auction*, this 3ft 61/2in (1.08m) diameter terrestrial globe of 1688 was sold for £210,000 to a collector as part of a July 10 Cartography sale held by Christie’s.

Summoned by catalogue…

16 April 2002

“HEAVILY used” is not often a description that is likely to add value to a lot at auction. However, Betjemanians would certainly have been far from put off by the condition of a set of 32 Ordnance Survey maps that appeared at Cheffins of Cambridge on March 7.

Navigation Warehouse

04 March 2002

TWO maps of the Americas, as predicted, brought the highest bids in this Sussex sale at Rupert Toovey on 13 February. A copy of William Heather’s New General Chart of the West Indies... of 1809, backed on (contemporary) paper and with some light soiling and a few small tears to the blank margins, was sold at £900, while for Heather’s New Chart of the Coast of America from Philadelphia to the Gulf of Florida..., a corrected and improved edition of 1812, bidding rose to £1450.

The Japanese, the Irish and the Australians

22 February 2002

TWO LOTS were bid to £800 in the 150-lot book and map portion of this Hampshire sale on 6 February at George Kidner, which put them some way ahead of most others on the day.

Lone Star attractions and the Silver Riders

16 June 2001

UK: TWO LOTS in this Norfolk sale stood head and shoulders above all others, at least in financial terms. One was a group of original illustrations by Charles Kerr for a Rider Haggard adventure story that made £3200 (see caption story below); the other a copy of John Arrowsmith’s London Atlas in modern half calf that reached £6600 (Heald).

Lunar surface excursion map, from the Apollo 16 mission

14 May 2001

Dennis Tito is evidently not the only American millionaire with a fascination for space exploration.

Cinderella loses her man, and frock

19 March 2001

UK: AN 18TH CENTURY map of the home town, bottom right, and an embarassing moment at the ball for Cinderella, top right, are my two illustrated highlights from this Berkshire sale, but a few other things from the 40 book and map lots that were tacked onto the end of a picture sale are described below.

City Streets-North and South

05 March 2001

UK: ILLUSTRATED here is a plan of Aberdeen, one of 47 double-page engraved or litho plans (some folding) from a copy of John Wood’s Town Atlas of Scotland of 1818-26, rebound in modern boards, which sold for £2800 in the Lyon & Turnbull sale of February 17.

Delineation devalued by Smith’s quick returns

05 March 2001

US: THE Isle of Wight is seen at lower right in the map illustrated here, which is part of the first large-scale geological map of any country ever issued, Delineation of the Strata of England and Wales, with Part of Scotland... by William Smith.

The very model of a British map...

29 January 2001

UK: THE Travel sale held by Sotheby’s on December 14 included a fine collection of what are known as ‘Lafreri-School’ maps, the product of a remarkable flowering of cartographic arts that took place in Rome and Venice, c.1540-70.

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