With thanks to Reeman Dansie Auctioneers & Valuers
WHAT TO COLLECT? This remains the big question for lovers of cartography. Well here's a quick guide. Senior specialist Julian Wilson of Christies charts the map collector’s world, from the landmark 16th-century atlases published by Ortelius and Blaeu to Nasa’s psychedelic maps of the dark side of the moon. Illustrated with lots past and present offered at the auction house.
Subjects covered includes:
Here's the link to GUIDE TO COLLECTING MAPS
If you collect antique maps or prints please tell us what you collect and why? Simply leave a comment below . . .
Yesterday one of the world’s greatest libraries of seafaring books and atlases went to auction at Christies in London. This included 203 lots with beautiful 17th century atlases from the Dutch Golden Age of Cartography, important and decorative single-sheet maps, as well rare narratives of the great voyages of exploration and discovery.
For breadth, scope and quality, the Mopelia Collection is one of the finest such collections to appear at auction. Here are some highlights from the sale with hammer sale prices. You can feast you eyes over some of these beauties including Johannes van Keulen's De Groote Nieuwe Vermeerder-de Zee-Atlas ofte WaterWerelt. Published in Amsterdam in 1688, this is a handsomely engraved and beautifully hand-coloured example with the frontispiece and maps highlighted in gold, perhaps one of the greatest 17th-century Dutch sea-atlases to come to the market in recent years.
KEULEN, Johannes van (1654-1715). De Groote Nieuwe Vermeerderde Zee-Atlas ofte Water-Werelt. Amsterdam: Johannes van Keulen, 1688. A hand-coloured maritime atlas of unprecedented scope and splendour. The charts after Claes Janszoon Voght combine baroque artistry with a technical ability that resulted in a half century of steady publication for the atlas from 1680 to 1734. Voght also wrote the short text. As Koeman stresses, the atlas was different to its predecessors in going through a process of continual enlargement and in having a content that was so variable. Estimate: £150,000 - £200,000 Sold: £395,250
RENARD, Louis (fl. c.1702-1707) – Reinier OTTENS (1698-1750) and Josua OTTENS (1704-1765). Atlas van Zeevaert en Koophandel door de Geheele Weereldt. Amsterdam: Reinier and Josua Ottens, 1745. Magnificent, hand-coloured copy of the corrected issue of Renard’s Atlas de la navigation et du commerce (Amsterdam: 1715), which had been printed from plates used for Frederik de Wit’s maritime atlas of c.1675. The firm of R. and J. Ottens produced a French edition in 1739, slightly different from 1715, and then this 1745 edition with Dutch text and careful correction of the plates. Estimated: £25,000 - £35,000 Sold: £50,000
For those of you who like to know the numbers: Sale total including buyer’s premium: GBP 2,301,000
Source and with thanks to Christies.com
it's that time of year again for map lovers to descend on the showcase event that is "The London Map Fair." Held at the historic London venue of The Royal Geographic Society map enthusiast from around the world get the chance to attend the largest antique map fair in Europe. The event brings together around 40 of the leading national and international antiquarian map dealers as well as hundreds of visiting dealers, collectors, curators and map aficionados.
Highlights at this years fair provide for all levels of interest and budget. The wonderful thing about the fair is the opportunity to see many examples of fine cartography from around the world. You get the chance to meet other map enthusiasts and for those new to collecting you get the chance to hear talks about map collecting for beginners. For those more serious collectors with deeper pockets these may take your fancy!
A classic 16th century map of South America LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huygen van. A highly decorative map of South America, engraved by Arnold Florent van Langeren for Linschoten's 'Itinerario', a manual for sailing to the East Indies. Orientated with north to the right, the West Indies and Florida are shown in some detail on the right; on the left Terra del Fuego, the landmass south of the Straits of Magellan, spreads out to fill the entire height of the map. (For sale from Altea Antique Maps & Charts) £7,850
I've just had the pleasure of reading 'Introduction to Pictorial Maps' by Matthias Mayenschein. If pictorial maps are of interest to you or a passion as they are for me then you must grab a copy of this work. I've put a link at the bottom of this article.
The book is a fascinating read. Presenting various maps and mapmakers all in chronological order from Claudius Ptolemy's "Geographia" up to the period of the 1960's then exploring the monumental and pictographic maps. The most striking maps are presented along with good historic background information. Many maps are illustrated, needless to say I can only give you a taste here. Hopefully this will be enough to stimulate your interest and you an go get a copy for yourself and yes the book is currently available FREE!
The subjects covered and some examples:
1) Pictorial Maps - What are they?
2) The history of pictorial maps, early beginnings with description of the most striking examples
3) Examples of pictorial maps in the 19th century
4) The history of pictorial maps, 19th and 20th century, in chronological order, with a description of the most striking examples
5) Examples of a Paris pictorial / pictographic map
6) Satire & Caricature Maps in the first half of the 20th Century
7) The history of pictorial maps from 1914 to 1945, exploring the influential work of MacDonald Gill with descriptions of the most striking examples.
8) The history of pictorial maps from 1945 to 1960's, exploring monumental & pictographic maps with description of the most striking examples
William Faden was an English cartographer and a publisher of maps. He was the royal geographer to King George III. He replaced Thomas Jefferys in that role. The title of "geographer to the king" was given to various people in the 18th century, including John Senex, Herman Moll, Emmanuel Bowen and Thomas Jeffreys. If you are a collector of William Faden maps, I'd love to hear from you, please leave a comment below . . . . .
As mentioned before on the blog if you have just a hint of knowledge about the fascinating world of maps you'll appreciate that old maps exist in a vast variety of forms, let alone the many differences in shape, size, subject and appearance. So it's fair to ask what do collectors collect? Here’s a quick list of some of the most popular categories of collecting:
1. By area 2. By mapmaker 3. Of a particular period 4. Displaying particular features 5. By theme 6. Individual significance
7. Appearance alone 8. For investment
All the above have a special reason of interest for collectors as varied as the very collectors themselves. Here are two types of map that map enthusiasts love to collect.
County Map of Dorsetshire by Ebden & Duncan c1833 County Map of Warwickshire by John Speed c1611
Just One Thing - By Area
This is one of the most popular geographic themes for collectors. It allows for a large amount of scope while keeping a limit on the size of a collection and control on cost or the level of investment.
You may decide to collect various antique maps of a specific area, like county maps. If you're based in the UK maybe english county maps are of interest to you. Some people collect maps by various mapmakers but only of a specific county. There will be other maps available about the area also, like road maps, town plans, river maps or some with other cartographic features of interest.
Collecting rare maps "By Area" is just one thing thats popular with map collectors. These kinds of maps are readily available in the current market. If these types of maps are something you already collect I'd love to hear why they interest you? Please join in the conversation and leave a comment below...
The pleasure in collecting antique prints is enormous and every one tells its own story. The range of subjects covered is almost endless. Just about everything that people have ever done is reflected in the print. The variety of prints produced means there is just about something for everyone and many antique prints are still enjoyed today proudly on display in the collectors home.
So what about prices? Just like with map collecting there are a range of factors that together determine and influence prices. You have dealers, auctions, serious collectors, casual collectors, institutions and people who buy prints simply as decorative items. Nowadays you often get interior designers picking up prints in auction for some specific home refurbishment project or looking to add that touch of the ‘unique’ to their interior design theme. All these factors create fluctuation in the overall market and differing prices.
Here’s a look at some recent sale prices of antique prints from just a handful of popular subjects. Most are stocked by regular print dealers and as with anything, the more scarce an item the more likely you are to pay a premium price.
The prices achieved for these prints at auction are closer to what is known as a 'dealer' price. All would cost you more if you were buying retail from a reputable antique print dealer. If you have an interesting print buying experience please tell us about it by leaving a comment below.....
Thanks as always to Dominic Winter Auctions for print images and auction results. More HERE.
Yes that’s 200,000 euros for an 11-volume 16th century Le Grand Atlas by Joan Blaeu c1663. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about please read on and admire the beauty and craftsmanship of this exceptional work. I've included some images and the background as provided within the catalogue.
BLAEU, Joan. Le Grand Atlas, ou Cosmographie Blaviaene, en laquelle est exactement descritte la Terre, la Mer, et le Ciel. Amsterdam, J. Blaeu, 1663 [-1662] 10 (of 12) + 1 vols, in all 11 vols folio: 1 allegorical frontispiece, 7 engr. title pages, 533 engr. maps, plans, views and plates, mostly double-paged and all mounted on lvs, finely hand-coloured with details heightened in gold (repairs in vols I, VIII, minor browning, staining and foxing, some margins cropped, some maps wrinkled, some tears, a few wormholes).
Dutch bindings: white ivory vellum over pasteboards with double ornamental gilt frame and gilt centerpiece, handwritten title on ornamented flat spine, gilt edges, remains of green silk ties (traces of glued paper on the inside of vols V-VI, VIII; traces of red wax on the inside of the covers of vols II, VII, X-XII; slightly damaged and loose spines on vols I-II, VI; some stains partic. at the bottom of vol. I).
Extraordinary copy of the first French edition of Blaeu's "Atlas Maior", described as the "greatest and finest atlas ever published" (cf. H. de la Fontaine Verwey). Our set consists of 10 (out of 12) volumes with French text published in 1663 (vol. IV on the Low Countries missing) plus the Latin variant of vol. IX on Italy, dated 1662 and originally being part of the first edition of the "Atlas Maior". Compared to the Latin edition of 1662, our French one is considerably enlarged, making the volume on France too thick for one binding and, therefore, was split into two making a total of 12 vols.
Only 30 copies of this French edition are known. Volume I. Arctic, Norway and Denmark. With its rare engr. frontispiece "Geographia Blaviana" (cropped and underlaid) and 61 maps incl. the magnificent world map in two hemispheres. Volume II. Sweden, Russia, Poland, southeastern Europe, and Greece. 39 maps. Volume III. Germany. 96 maps. Volume V. England. Engr. title page and 58 maps. Volume VI. Scotland and Ireland. Engr. title page and 55 maps. Volume VII. France (part 1). Engr. title page and 36 maps. Volume VIII. France (part 2) and Switzerland. 36 maps. Volume IX (Latin vol. VIII). Italy. Engr. title page and 60 maps, identical to the French vol. it substitutes. Volume X. Spain and Africa. Engr. title page and 41 maps. Without the rare engr. frontispiece on Africa. Volume XI. Asia. 2 engr. title pages and 28 maps. Volume XII. America. 23 maps. Ref. van der Krogt II [2: 611].
Prov. From the library of the Brussels' palace of Charles Alexander of Lorraine with ownership mark in gold pen by his own hand. According to the "Catalogue des livres de la bibliothèque [...] commencé en 1753", our copy is one of the highlights of the "Grande Bibliothèque" of Charles Alexander of Lorraine (1712-1780), governor of the Austrian Netherlands. After his death, Corneille-François de Nélis established a new catalogue from August 1780 onwards. Subsequently Emperor Joseph II, his "neveu par alliance" and legal heir, ordered the public sale of the collections. Hence, our "Grand Atlas" is listed as nr 1639 in the auction catalogue by Joseph Ermens ("...12 vol. in fol. rel.[iés] avec des Cartes & Estampes très proprement enlum.[inées]") and sold for "26 florins argent de change".
Charles Alexander's ownership mark is present on 9 title pages (not in vols I and IX). Ultimately this copy moved to the collection of de Ligne Ref. AGR, SEG 2610 and 2621. - AGR, CF 7639. - Catalogue des livres, estampes, et planches gravées, de la bibliothèque de feue S.A.R. le duc Charles-Alexandre de Lorraine [...]. Brussels, Joseph Ermens, 1781, Nr. 1639.
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Thanks to Arenberg Auctions
If you’re a newbie to antique maps or at the early stages of building a collection you’ve probably already experienced feelings of confusion or dismay at the outcome of what some maps sell for. Sometimes it just all seems illogical and buying under such circumstances is a real problem.
Truth be told there are many factors that together determine and influence the price of a map. If you just consider how the market itself is made up, it gives you some idea why there is such apparent variation in the antique map market. You have dealers, auctions, serious collectors, casual collectors, institutions and people who simply buy maps as decorative items. All this creates fluctuation in the overall market and there can be a wide price difference for the same map in differing markets.
Why So Much Variation?
You have the simple fact that some maps of certain parts of the world are collected more than others. Then there are the maps that are bought and sold more frequently, which tends to create a relatively narrow more stable price range for these maps. At the other extreme you have scarce or more unusual maps that can sometime demand almost whatever the seller wants when it comes to price.
There really is no one determining factor that sets a maps price and you could easily fill a small book explaining the various issues that should be taken into consideration. I’ll do my best to cover some of these in future posts.
Get a Fix on the Potential Sale Price
One thing you can do is research online into current and historic price data. A simple way is to take a look at auction sales data. Most auction houses give an estimate on an items potential sale price. Obviously this can be far exceeded on occasion and this is because the market itself decides the value on the day.
Just consider the factors already mentioned above. Who is buying, why are they buying, what are they buying the map for? All will have an affect on what price will be paid. This is why your own research is so important. Keep in mind also, auction houses charge a commission on the purchase price so this must be factored in when buying.
The Market Speaks!
The maps shown here are examples of popular maps sold in the last week here in the UK (April 2019). These maps are generally available in the market with the exception of the last map of Yorkshire by Philip Overton. The others are normally found in the possession of most map dealers who sell to the retail market. The prices achieved for these maps at auction are closer to what is known as a 'dealer' price. All would cost you more if you were buying retail from a reputable antique map dealer.
If the maps of John Speed or Johannes Blaeu are of interest to you you can find some English county maps on the site HERE. If you have an interesting map buying experience please tell us about it by leaving a comment below.....
Thanks as always to Dominic Winter Auctions for map images and auction results. More HERE.