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breaking news - highest price this year for a single map

A copy of Velarde's map of the Philippines 1734 sold today for £615 000 plus buyer's premium. The venue: Leon Gallery, Makati City, Philippines.See our blog below (6th November 2014) for an illustration and the previous high that this map reached (£170 000).

Submitted 14/09/2019

US-China Trade War escalates -  now includes antique maps

A tariff of 10% on the retail price of all books, manuscripts, photographs, collections, maps, art work, ephemera etc. which were made, or even partly made, in China will be imposed by the United States from September 1st, 2019. It does not matter which country the items are being sent from.The tariff applies to any item that was at some time in its history a product of China. For example, it includes any map, book or atlas regardless of date or value that was published or printed in China; a Japanese photograph album with just a photo or two of China (likely to be a pro-rata tariff); a library or collection of documents where one or more items had originally come from China, etc. For more details, please contact ILAB.

(Editor: At last the Americans are standing up to China. Thank you President Trump).

Richard Joseph.
Submitted 31/08/2019

A complete set of Coronelli globe gores

At Lyon & Turnbull on June 19th a complete set of globe gores including polar 'calottes' (26 sections in all) sold for £18750. They were made for Coronelli's 42-inch globe and dated 1688. A rare occurrence. 

Submitted 01/07/2019

Lithuanian/Polish maps sold

A collection of Eastern European maps and views with very low estimates (mostly £100 to £200) was sold on June 21st. by Flints. Braun & Hogenberg's view of Vilnius 'Vilna Lituaniae metropolis' reached £2700 excluding b/p (illustrated here), while De Ram's 'Regni Poloniae et Ducatus Lithuaniae' went for £1600. Jollain's c1680 view 'Cracovie', based on Jansson, was sold for £850.

Submitted 22/06/2019

Some Recent auction records

First, on May 27, Ketterer Kunst sold a copy of Waldseemuller's 1513 atlas containing 47 maps in a contemporary binding for Euro 301 350 (estimate Euro 140 000). The world map from this atlas is shown below left. Then, on June 5, Christie's London sold a copy of Van Keulen's 'De Groote Nieuwe Vermeerderde Zee-Atlas' - an enlarged edition of 1688 with 135 sea charts - for £395 250 (estimate £200 000). Thirdly, on June 6 in New York, Swann sold Plancius's map of Southern Africa entitled 'Delineatio orarum Manicongi' for $87 500 (estimate $5000).
PS: A very rare, complete copy of Metellus' 1602 atlas was sold in Christie's June 5th sale. Containing 261 maps, it fetched £299 250.


Jeffrey.   Submitted 8/06/2019

a mixed bag at sotheby's london travel sale, may 14

Just a small selection. Lot no. 57 was Speed's atlas of the world, 1676, which sold for £93750 - better than expected by many. It had later colour but was complete with 96 maps. (Shown below left). Lot 148 was the first 'modern' map; Lucas Brandis' 1475 map of the Holy Land. With a fair bit of restoration, it went for £37500. (Shown below right). Mitchell's 1755 map of North America (state 2), lot 216, was in poor condition but still managed to double its estimate to reach £68750. Lot 95 was Mortier/De Hooghe's beautiful map of the Mediterranean, which was knocked down for £11875. Finally, lot 110 was Turgot's large plan of Paris,1739, which managed a respectable £10000.


Submitted 21/05/2019

visit the largest map fair in the world, June 8/9


Ordnance Survey in The Times Quick Cryptic crossword 1315

Clue: That group of map-makers featured in article (5 letters)

Answer: THOSE = 'That group of' (map-makers=OS featured in='placed inside' article=THE) The grammatical term 'article' refers to 'the'. Hence you get TH-OS-E, for the uninitiated.

Submitted 14/04/2019

Matthew Flinders' remains are found

Archaeologists working on the HS2 project in St. James’s burial ground, Euston, have discovered the remains of Captain Matthew Flinders, the Royal Navy explorer who led the first circumnavigation of Australia and is credited with giving the country its name.

Commenting on the discovery ahead of Australia Day on 26th January, Helen Wass, HS2 Ltd’s Head of Heritage, said: 'The discovery of Cpt. Matthew Flinders’s remains is an incredible opportunity for us to learn more about the life and remarkable achievements of this British navigator, hydrographer and scientist. He put Australia on the map due to his tenacity and expertise as a navigator and explorer. Given the number of human remains at St. James’s, we weren’t confident that we were going to find him. We were very lucky that Cpt. Flinders had a breastplate made of lead meaning it would not have corroded. We’ll now be able to study his skeleton to see whether life at sea left its mark and what more we can learn about him. This discovery is particularly exciting for me as an archaeologist as Cpt. Matthew Flinders was the grandfather of renowned Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, commonly known as the ‘Father of Archaeology’.' (Capt. Flinders’ cat Trim accompanied him on his voyages. See below) 

{On 15th December 1803 Captain Matthew Flinders sailed into a quiet bay of the Isle of France (now Mauritius), a small French outpost in the south-west Indian Ocean.  He was on his way home from Australia for the third time. Only a few weeks earlier, a French ship had brought news of the rupture of the Peace of Amiens. Flinders was unaware that war had again broken out, but believed that his scientific papers guaranteed him safe passage. However, the French Governor, General Decaen, ordered his immediate imprisonment. He was to remain a prisoner on the island for six and a half years. His maps were eventually published in 1814 under his own name, four years after his return to London. He died in 1811. His work on his second voyage, during 1798/99, which included circumnavigating the island of Tasmania, was published by Arrowsmith in 1800 in a map with the title 'A Chart of Basses Strait...'. This included the discoveries of George Bass. It was re-engraved in 1805 in Dutch. See AMPG}

Submitted 30/03/2019

a canadian map in our blog for the first time

Montresor's 1768 'Map of Nova Scotia or Acadia' sold for £4545 (+ buyer's premium) at Old World Auctions, last month.

We have not seen the map, but have been informed it was not in the best condition. Here is an image taken from AMPG2019.

Submitted 01/03/2019

Yorkshire in the news again (see blog 19/9/2018)

Warburton's seminal map of Yorkshire, 1720 does well at auction

A rare example of this map in 4 sheets sold for £3200 (+b/p) at Dominic Winter on 30th January 2019. The title of the map 'A New & Correct Map of the County of York ...' is printed on a separate sheet.

This map is analysed in 'The Mapping of Yorkshire' published by Leeds University. For example: '... For nearly 150 years (after Saxton) the position of Rosedale Abbey was erroneously mapped. Warburton's map of 1720 was the first to show the abbey in its correct position. None of the better known cartographers, Speed, Jansson, Blaeu, Lea, Morden etc. corrected this mistake. The error concerning the river Rye was noticed by Camden in 1607 but not by Speed, Jansson or Blaeu. Morden eliminated the gap but did so inaccurately. Again Warburton corrects the error...'

This thesis is available in AMPG2019 (flash drive) together with other works by academics, collectors and dealers. For more details, go to 'Collect Antique Maps' above. If you have carried out similar work or have compiled a comprehensive listing of maps of any part of the world, we would be interested to include it free in AMPG2019. Please contact me above.

Submitted 15/02/2019

Cartografia e Topografia Italiana del XVI secolo

by Stefano Bifolco and Fabrizio Ronca

This new work in 3 volumes is the ‘new Tooley’; an updated version of Ronald Tooley’s ‘Maps in Italian Atlases of the Sixteenth Century’, first published in 1939. Until now, it was the only attempt to catalogue Italian printed maps of the sixteenth century. The new work lists 1280 additional maps, bringing the total to 2231. Each map is illustrated and described. The work is not only for scholars, librarians and archivists who catalogue maps, but also for lovers of the beautiful engravings of the Lafreri school and other Italian cartography.

Submitted 25/01/2019

antique map price guide 2019 edition on flashdrive. more info here


Rare world map by petrini for sale

Antiquariat Inlibris of Vienna announce the sale of Petrini's world map of 1700 (ref: Shirley 625) together with matching maps of the four continents, at the first manuscripts fair in Abu Dhabi (16-21 January 2019, price EUR480 000). Other gems include Raif's atlas of 1804, of which only 50 copies were printed, in Turkish script.

Submitted 16/01/2019

Colour makes a difference

Hartmann Schedel's 'Buch der Chroniken' 1493 sold by Ketterer, Hamburg for Euros169740 (estimate 120000-138000)

This second edition with the two maps and about 1800 woodcut illustrations was coloured by the printer Anton Koberger. A beautiful copy with mid-16th century binding.

The Hub.
Submitted 29/12/2018

Dutch Town books by Blaeu sold in new york

A beautiful set in 2 volumes made for Philip IV, King of Spain with 226 plates fetched $287500 at Christie's on Dec 4. (Novum ac magnum theatrum urbium...)

Submitted 14/12/2018

Record price for early New England map

Second state 1676 map reaches £270 000

November 13th was a good day for Doyle's Auctioneers of New York. John Seller's 'A Mapp of New England' did significantly better than expected. The estimate was $4000-$6000!

The Hub.
Submitted 20/11/2018

london continues to shine

Rocque's 'A Plan of the Cities of London...' sells for a record price

At Sotheby's London this month, Rocque's 24-sheet plan (the second, updated edition of 1749) reached £81250 (Est. £20000-30000). Other maps did reasonably well including two Greek maps - an Ulm 1486 'Decima Europe Tabula', which went for £5250 (Est. £1500-2000, shown below left) and Vavassore's City of Rhodes 1522, which sold for £9375 (Est. £5000-7000) 


Sotheby's.  Submitted 16/11/2018


New law bans 'boxing' of Shetland maps 

'Islands Bill' unanimously passed in Scottish parliament. Cartographers will have to include 125 miles of sea between Scotland and Shetland.

These remote islands to the north of Scotland have been boxed on antique maps for hundreds of years, but locals are irritated by this 'convenient' solution. The islands are much farther away from mainland Scotland than they appear on maps. Shetland Islanders want a geographically accurate representation, which depicts the 125-mile distance between mainland Scotland and the Islands.No problem with the map below, by Bellin, 1757!

R. Joseph.

Submitted 05/10/2018

Maps of England perform well - sign of a revival?

A few results at Dominic Winter's recent sale

Dickenson’s large and rare 1750 map of South Yorkshire fetched £2600 (estimate £1500-2000). Illustrated here. All prices exclude the buyer's premium. Cary’s 1831 geological map of Durham sold for £1950 (estimate £500-800). This map was a copy of Smith’s 1824 map, no acknowledgment to Smith was given! Greenwood’s impressive map of London 1827 sold for £9200 (estimate £2000-3000), not in the first state. Tombleson’s panoramic map of the River Thames, 1860 hit the hammer at £550 (estimate £200-300). The first edition was published in 1834. The playing card set by Lenthal 1717 did not sell; possibly the low estimate was too ambitious (£20000), considering that a few sets of cards have appeared on the market of late.See blogs of March 8, 2018 and July 31, 2017 below.

Submitted 19/09/2018

36th international map collectors society (imcos) symposium in Manila 14-17 october and also hong kong

Supported by PHIMCOS (Philippine Map Collectors Society)

The symposium includes 11 lectures in the Ayala Museum and afternoon excursions to the Ortigas Foundation, Lopez Museum and UST Heritage Library featuring rare maps and book collections. At the Ayala Museum, many of the original antique maps, prints and books presented in the symposium lectures will be shown. The “Mother of all Philippine maps” by Murillo Velarde will be shown in more than one example in the “Murillo Room” together with later editions and variants (see our blog of 06/11/2014 below).

This symposium is a two-part event in Manila and Hong Kong. The Hong Kong part is organized by the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Library and takes place on 19/20 October. Each destination has its own registration fee. Please contact:

 R. Lietz. Submitted 12/09/2018

The 'English Atlas' by Moses Pitt 1680-83 in 4 volumes

A beautiful copy in the original binding with some gold highlighting sold for $122000 by Arader Auctions on July 28th.

Moses Pitt was neither a cartographer nor a scholar, yet in 1670 he undertook a project called 'The English Atlas'. Despite the unrealistic difficulty of the task, Pitt's idea was backed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. His partners included the Dutch map publisher Jan Jansson and the Englishman Steven Stewart. Based on the Atlas Maior by Joan Blaeu, Pitt's atlas was to consist of 12 volumes, but only four were completed (covering places "next the North-Pole," Muscovy, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the seventeen provinces of the Low Countries). Pitt had envisioned the project as a reissue in which existing Dutch maps would be repackaged with accompanying text in English - whereas his partners envisioned the printing of an atlas with entirely new maps. This conflict, along with economic factors, eventually led to the project's demise. After only four volumes of the atlas were completed and published (166 maps), Pitt was financially ruined. He was imprisoned for debt from 1689 to 1691. (The world map shown here was by John Seller, first published 1675).


Submitted 20/08/2018

Captain James Cook exhibition

Did you know that Cook's charts of the 1770s were still used  by sailors in the 1950s? 

See more at the British Library. Exhibition ends 28th August.

Submitted 06/08/2018


 A lot of money for the Mississippi River?

Norman's Chart of the Lower Mississippi River (from Natchez to New Orleans) was published in 1858. An example in reasonable condition fetched £37500 last month. It was sold by Skinner's (Marlborough MA).

The Hub. Submitted 02/07/2018


a changing world of values

But values of antique maps of Malta hold their own

A large collection of maps of Malta was sold last month by Reiss, German auctioneers. Prices were slightly up, compared with the values recorded in Antique Map Price Guide 21. For example, illustrated below is Vouillemont's map, published by De Fer in 1672. It sold for £3200 + buyer's commission. (As pointed out in AMPG 21, this map should not be confused with De Fer's 1722 map, shown right.)


Submitted 30/05/2018 

Ratzer's plan of New York does well at Doyle's

On April 25th, a copy of the second issue dated 1776 sold at auction in New York for £100 000 including b/p. It is perhaps the most desirable plan of this city. Only three copies of the first issue, 1770, are known to exist. The imprint is Faden & Jefferys, size: 117x88cm. (The price paid was 50% more than the value in Antique Map Price Guide no.5, which will duly be increased; bucking the recent trend of US antique map prices.)

Submitted 26/04/2018

New regulations will control imports of cultural goods into the EU (European Union)

Bad news for map collectors and dealers

If proposed new European Union regulations are approved, European map collectors and dealers everywhere will be in for an annoying surprise. Beginning next year they may become subject to new import regulations that will significantly complicate the process of buying old books, prints and manuscripts from sources outside the EU. The purpose of the changes is to combat the looting and smuggling of antiquities and prevent the financing of terrorism through the illicit trade in cultural goods.

The new regulations apply to a range of cultural goods, but none will be impacted more adversely than maps and atlases as trading in these categories tends to cross more borders than other cultural goods. There are no value thresholds. No distinction is made between commercial and personal property. There is nothing to indicate that EU citizens may bring their own personal goods into the EU from outside of it without going through the import procedures. Thus, there is nothing to assure an EU resident who leaves the Union with personal cultural goods in January that he will be able to return with those goods in February without being subject to import regulations.

Owners/importers (“holders of goods’) will have to prove or declare that the imported goods were legally exported from the country in which they were created. This requirement will be particularly problematic for map, book and print sellers. Free trade in books has existed since before the invention of printing and the legal undocumented exportation of books has historically been standard practice in all but exceptional cases. Early export documents for books do not exist. Thus, an individual who seeks to import a pre-1768 map into the EU will either be required to make a signed declaration about facts he is unable to know, or, in the case of incunables, to provide supporting documentation and information it would be impossible to obtain.

Here is your chance to get more info on this legislation and vote on it. Either click on ‘You agree with the legislation’ or ‘You are against it’. Go to:

Sheppard.  Submitted 30/03/2018

Good news for english county maps

A small, unassuming (12vo) book of maps by Robert Morden did well at Dominic Winter Auctions on March 7th. The estimate was £3-5000. It sold for £40800.

Its title is ‘A Brief Description of England and Wales, containing a particular account of each county..., embellished with Copper-plate maps of each county, very useful for Travellers and others and very proper for Schools to give youth an idea of Geography and the nature of his own Country and County’.

Published by R. Bassam in 1796, it contains 106 text pages and 31 (only) uncoloured engraved 'playing card' county maps, most of which are printed in strips and bound concertina-style. Earlier versions have been recorded but not this one. For example, see below (July 31st 2017) for details of the sale of the first edition, 1676.


Submitted 08/03/2018

Dudley's chart of the Gulf of Mexico, 1646

In fine condition, it is listed in AMPG at £20 000 (image below). On February 27th at Morton Subastas in Mexico City an example sold for roughly £11 000 plus buyer's premium. I don't know the condition of this map, but prices in general seem floppy. A sign of the times no doubt. 

Submitted 02/03/2018

hondius atlas dated 1641 sold in paris by Audap-Mirabaud on Feb 2

This second edition of Nouveau Theatre du Monde with 318 of 321 maps including the world map and contemporary colouring went for £38 000 plus buyer's premium (estimate 8-10000 Euros). 


Submitted 16/02/2018

Maps as literary illustrations

On the subject of thematic maps (see previous blog) should your travels bring you to Cambridge, Massachusetts before April 15, chart a path to Harvard’s Houghton Library where an exhibition called ‘Maps as Literary Illustration’ opened last week. Sixty maps bring to life such imagined places as More’s Utopia and Pooh’s Hundred Acre Wood.

One of the highlights is a map of part of Spain by Tomas Lopez. It illustrates Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s ‘El Ingenioso Hildalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha’, published in Madrid, 1780. The route is delineated in red; the numbers along the way are keyed to 35 episodes listed inside an elegant cartouche surmounted by Quixote’s suit of armour.


Rebecca Barry.
Submitted 03/02/2018

Maps as data visualisation

Few map dealer catalogues are thematic. Perhaps the theme of this catalogue is unique – ‘data visualisation’, as its compiler Daniel Crouch puts it. To a certain extent all maps are data visualization. But advances in mapping technologies have given cultural and social data more authority and persuasiveness. One of the greatest exponents of cartographic data visualization was Charles Minard (item 12) whose output ranged from “the best statistical graphic ever drawn” - a map depicting Napoleon’s doomed invasion of Russia; the international cotton trade before, during, and after the America Civil War; and the population density in Paris, produced to ascertain the most efficient placement of a new central post office.

Other items in Crouch’s catalogue include the fight against cholera. This disease was responsible for the greatest loss of life in the nineteenth century. The fight in London was aided by the pioneering work of John Snow (item 14), whose map of the area around the Broad Street water pump in Soho demonstrates better than any table of statistics the link between infected water and death rates.

Then there was William Smith’s geological map of England and Wales of 1815 (item 1) – the first geological map of any country and “the map that changed the world”. The new science became hugely popular over the succeeding decades – with men of industry and the layman alike.

Problems of transportation led Harry Beck (items 30 and 31) to produce his 1933 tube map, one of the most celebrated maps of the twentieth century. To make the map more intelligible, Beck dispenses with “topographical truth”, in order to show connectivity. In doing so he set a world standard for graphic clarity and produced something as “rational as a contemporary Mondrian painting”, proving the American statistician John Tukey’s point that “the greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see”.
This catalogue can be downloaded from

Submitted 30/01/2018

Interesting results from Sotheby's NY

Americana map sale on January 17th.

Just a few high-end results. 1.N. De Fer's map of the American Continent 1713 did well. In AMPG it is listed at £40000. It achieved £67000. This is a much rarer version than the reduced-size Chatelain re-issue of 1719.  2. W. Perris' plan of New York 1850/51 reached £27000 3. J. Robinson's 'A map of Mexico, Louisiana and the Missouri Territory' 1819 went for £250000. Only 10 copies of this map are known to exist. (Prices include buyer's premium.)


Submitted 19/01/2018

A brilliant Antique Map Price Guide review

From another map dealer - many thanks.

I have been selling maps since 1961. In those days there was only a small selection of books to guide the map collector with his hobby. The first book I bought was Maps and Mapmakers by R. V. Tooley. This used to go in and out of print over the years. A book I recommend to my county map customers is British County Maps Reference and Price Guide by Yasha Beresiner published in 1986. The price guide is now historically amusing to look at but the real value of the book is the way it describes most clearly the county maps and mapmakers that the collector should seek out. Since those days back in the 60's there have been so many wonderful books on antique maps. Some sumptuous illustrated ones for the coffee table and others that you use and keep referring to when you want need facts and information. Then more recently there arrived an amazing series of 24 books under the title of Antique Map Price Guide by Jeffrey Sharpe. Unlike that price guide book back in 1968 this amazing series of illustrated books does not stop at British Isles county maps but continues to roam around the world visiting all countries and areas. The prices will help to guide collectors with their purchases but for me the value of these books is the way they show the collector what maps are available of a particular area that he might want to seek out. An excellent source for making a map wish list.

Richard NIcholson.
Submitted 02/12/2017

Recent world map sales

The venue was Sotheby's London, November 14th 

An extremely rare map by Valegio c1570 sold for the high estimate (£150 000 + b/p) shown left and Sylvanus' 1511 map went for £50 000 + b/p. It seems that rarity supports value in difficult times. Other factors, such as beauty, catch up in good times. 


Submitted 20/11/2017

'Columbus letter' Hot off the press 1494

Christopher Columbus's announcement of the success of his 1493 voyage westward across the Atlantic Ocean quickly became one of the earliest best sellers of European publishing. No less than 11 editions were published in 1493 across Western Europe. Six more editions were published from 1494 to 1497. All of them are rare today; several of the editions survive in only a single copy, including the first edition, published in Basel. In total, 80 copies of all the editions survive, according to the Osher Map Library.

The second, illustrated edition (1494) was sold by Bonham’s NY on 26th September. It fetched £561 000 including b/p. The 'Columbus Letter,' as it is commonly called, describes at first-hand the most momentous of all voyages of discovery. The existence of an American continent was made common knowledge and led to the rise of capitalism by providing a new outlet for European trade. In Europe the centre of political and economic power shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic seaboard.

The second edition is important because of the woodcut illustrations attributed to a Swiss artist. The illustrations of the Columbus letter are: 1) Columbus landing in a small boat, from a galleon in the foreground, on the island of "Insula Hyspana." Groups of natives stand on the shore (shown below) 2) The first map depicting a part of America illustrates Columbus's ships among the West Indian islands of Fernanda, Hyspana, Ysabella, Saluatorie, and Conceptionis Maria (shown below) 3) The building of a fort along the coast, "Insula hyspana" in the background. 4) The crowned arms of Spain. 5) Columbus's galleon, "Oceanica Classis," in full sail. 6) A portrait of Ferdinand II of Aragon.


Bonham's NY.
Submitted 01/10/2017

Poor sale, stunning highlight

A nice selection of maps and atlases did not do well on September 13th at Leslie Hindman's Auctioneers based in Chicago. Many lots were unsold. An exception was this extremely rare bird's eye view of Chicago dated 1857 by James Palmatary (118x204cm.) The high estimate was $30 000. It sold for $170 000 plus buyer's premium.

Maybe the timing of the sale was unfortunate. But I can't help thinking that if more potential collectors were aware of the existence of Antique Map Price Guide, the results could have been better.

Submitted 14/09/2017

The counties of England on playing cards

Although 15 cards were missing from the original 52, Robert Morden's 1676 first issue of these cards was sold for £6500 + b/p by Dominic Winter on July 20th.
Bowles' c1780 re-issue of Dunn's 1772 map of the world also did well at the same auction. Estimated at £2000 to £3000, this wall map with original battens fetched £8200 + b/p. (An example of this map is for sale on this site.)


Submitted 31/07/2017

A high point for 20th century Indian cartography

Sold at Christie's London on July 12th

This large hand-coloured lithograph (130x164cm) published by the government of New Delhi in 1913 shows the layout to be used by Albert Griesson and his horticultural division for the design of the outdoor spaces. The architects were Lutyens and Baker. Christie's estimate was £8000 to £12000. It made £52500 including b/p.

Submitted 24/07/2017

The Antonine Itinerary. A Roman 'word map'

Sold by Bloomsbury Auctions, London on July 6th for £52000

This text of 136 leaves is almost the sole surviving example of its genre. It is a tabulated ‘word map’, or practical geographical guide. It explains, much as an underground train map does today, the order of safe stopping places between two given towns. Such maps were common in the Roman Empire, especially in public libraries where they were intended to be used as practical travel tools. However, they were usually written on bronze or papyrus, materials that could be easily reused or destroyed, and were probably regarded as mundane records, not worthy of preservation for posterity. The earliest surviving example is from the first century AD, but none compares in size with the text described here, which dates from c1500, having been copied by hand from an earlier manuscript.

It details the routes between Rome and the cities of the Empire in the third century AD, as well as the friendly mansiones on those routes. It was originally intended to guide troop movements. Here are 225 routes between Rome and towns and cities in the Mediterranean (Tripoli, Sardinia, Corsica), Italy, Arabia ‘beyond the Nile’ (i.e. Egypt), Germania , Gaul, Byzantium, Hispania , Aquitaine and Britain. The capitals ‘M.P.’ that follow each place name along the routes mark 'millia passuum' or Roman miles, followed by a number in Roman numerals. The routes for Egypt most probably chart the movements of Emperor Caracalla’s proposed visit of 214-15. Included are the ‘Itinerarium maritimum’ (pp. 127-9) explaining the routes for sea travel in the Mediterranean focussing on Sicily and the North African coastline, and the ‘Itinerarium Portuum vel positionum navium ab urbe Arelatum usque’ (pp. 129-35), specifying the route from Arles to Rome.

Submitted 17/07/2017

Central European sale hits the headlines

At Reiss's recent auction in Konigstein, a fine panorama of Prague did well, among other cartographic items. The 47x315cm framed engraving in 9 sheets by P. van den Bossche was published in 1606. It sold for 18000 Euros + b/p.

Submitted 26/06/2017

One of North America's most important maps changes hands

On June 2nd 2017, a first edition, first issue of Mitchell's 1755 map was sold for $400 000 plus buyer's premium at Graham Arader Galleries. The map was still used in the twentieth century, mainly to settle border disputes. It is entitled: 'A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America with the Roads, Distances, Canals and Extent of the Settlements'.

G. Arader
Submitted 12/06/2017

ortelius always a banker

Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum does well at Galerie Bassenge book auction in Berlin.

A 1592 edition with 134 maps and gold highlights sold for US$207808 on April 11th (lot 26).


Submitted 29/04/2017


More about the author can be found at his website:

J. Richardson
Submitted 23/02/2017

Aaron Arrowsmith's North American map, 1802 does well

I watched with special interest when a fascinating map came up for auction at Gonelli's of Florence last month. The estimate was 4000 Euros. This was low, even though the map had seen better days; consider that Antique Map Price Guide no. 5 valued it at 44000 Euros. Thanks to the marvel of the internet, though, it sold for 40000 Euros, including buyer's premium. Entitled 'A Map Exhibiting all the new Discoveries in the Interior Parts of North America', it was first published in 1795, but was updated several times to keep up with the discoveries being made. The 1802 map was used by Lewis and Clark to assist them with their discoveries.

Submitted 09/01/2017

swedish, baltic maps on a roll

Swedish and Baltic maps performed well last month at Stockholms Auktionwerk. Very few lots were unsold. Many beat the high estimates, such as Braun & Hogenberg's two views of Stockholm on one sheet, which went for £1500 (high estimate £950), Dudley's map centred on Gotha, £4000 (estimate £2000), Van Keulen's Baltic Sea c1700, £2000 (est. £900 and illustrated below), Sanson's 'Curlande' 1679, £400 (est. £220) and Boisseau's 1644 map of Denmark including Southern Sweden, which went for £700 (est. £550).

Incidentally, Antique Map Price Guide no. 6 (Scandinavia) lists 837 different maps, 152 of which are of Sweden, from 1558 to 1850. Taken together, the Swedish maps are worth £125150, in fine condition. This figure now needs to be revised upwards. If you are seriously interested in acquiring all the Swedish maps, as a collection, please contact me. sold

Submitted 07/01/2017

Maps of South East Asia bring Christmas cheer

Prices are stronger than they have been in years, says Caleb Kiffer, maps and atlases specialist at Swann Auction Galleries. Their December 8th sale in New York featured early maps of the East Indies. One quarter of the top 20 lots pertained to early European exploration of the region, including The Spice Map, a colloquial term for Petrus Plancius’s Insulae Moluccae Celeberrimae, 1598, which helped to open the area to Dutch traders. Even though it was a poor example, it sold for $31,200 (illustrated here). Highlight of the sale was The Complete East-India Pilot or Oriental Navigator, 1797, Robert Laurie and James Whittle’s monumental atlas with 113 engraved charts, which sold for $81,250 ($60,000 high estimate). Also in the sale was one of the first printed maps of the region, Claudius Ptolemaus’s Undecima Asiae Tabula, circa 1490 ($6,000).


Submitted 14/12/2016

Chinese map achieves auction record

The other day, a fine example of Qianren Huang's large wood block map did well at Sotheby's London. The estimate range was £80 000 to £120 000. It made £269 000. Size of the map:137x259cm, printed in 8 vertical strips. The map was originally published in 1767. The map sold was an updated, 1823 edition.

Submitted 10/11/2016

Rarest maps continue to perform well

At Sotheby's Travel, Atlases and Maps sale on April 28th in London, the estimate for this late 17th century wall map by Frederick De Wit with some restoration was £15-£20 000. It made £32 500.  (AMPG no.4 values it at £40 000 in fine condition.)

If you happen to be in London on June 4th or 5th, why not visit the premiere Map Fair, held at the Royal Geographical Society in South Kensington's Exhibition Rd, London. Entry is free. Check out London Map Fairs online. Apart from maps, Map World will be displaying all 24 volumes of Antique Map Price Guide, a monumental work, which has taken seven years to complete. Individual volumes can be purchased anytime online from Amazon. For more details about Antique Map Price Guide, please go to 'Collect Antique Maps' above.

Jeffrey. Submitted 01/05/2016



In spite of poor trading conditions, a complete copy of this atlas in 11 volumes fetched £581000 at Sotheby's London on 17th November 2015. The set includes 594 maps, which works out at roughly £1000 per map. About 300 sets are believed to have been printed. Some dealers thought the estimate range of £240000 to £320000 was somewhat optimistic.

Submitted 30/11/2015

Customer testimonial

'Safely and gratefully received this morning, exactly as described - many thanks'.

Dr Neil...
Submitted 14/10/2015

Another winner for Antique Map Price Guide

Philippines map sells for record price.

Antique Map Price Guide no.15 (Asia) has this map, by P. Velarde, 1734 listed at £30 000. On November 4, it was knocked down for £170 500 at Sothebys, London. (Estimate: £20 000 - £30 000).

Some people say that AMPG's prices are too high. Not always it seems. At the lower end of the market I predict a similar story within the next few years. Don't forget that the supply of atlases containing such maps has now largely 'dried up'.

Submitted 06/11/2014

Excellent sales results for books with maps at Sothebys, September 30th

The second sale of the Brooke-Hitching library attracted bids from around the world and set many auction records. Only 2 lots were unsold out of the 350 lots offered.

Top price was £458,500 for Hakluyt’s Principal Navigations (1598-1600), which included the world map (high estimate was £240,000). A complete set of Dalrymple’s maps and charts published up to 1788 reached £302,500 (high estimate £160,000), and a copy of Matthew Flinders’s Observations on the coasts of Van Diemen’s Land (1801), bound with the 3 charts, went for £290,500 (H/E £200,000). Even not so rare material did well. For example, a first edition of Dampier's Voyages (H/E £6000) sold for £10,625.

Map World.
Submitted 03/10/2014

Growth rate of antique map prices

Comparisons with house prices very favourable.

As can be seen, since 1969, house prices have risen 50 times. During the same period antique map prices have risen 83 times, based on sales of John Speed's world map. This map has been chosen because it is average in price and rarity. For comments on the prices of 'non-average' maps, see the blog below.

Submitted 29/09/2014


Prices of antique maps are extremely fluid.  At the ‘top end’ of the market, collectors are willing to pay ever more for combinations of importance, rarity and beauty.  Recently I discovered in a public library in Eastern Europe a large map of Warsaw by De Tirregaille, published in 1762 and illustrated here.

I estimated its value at £6000 for the purpose of including it in Antique Map Price Guide No. 8, based on the limited popularity of the region concerned, its size and beauty, and the fact that an example of this map had not come up for sale in the past 25 years as far as I could ascertain.  I was therefore interested to see what would happen when another example of this map was offered recently at an auction in Stockholm. The auction estimate was around £800. Everyone who attended was goggle-eyed when several collectors fought a battle for it, which took its price to £18000 including buyer’s premium.

This is not the end of the saga. At the world's premier antique map fair held in London last month, an example of this map was on display. Its asking price: £75000!

At the ‘bottom end’ of the market things are different. Buyers use the internet to compare prices, and sellers oblige them by undercutting one another. However, I don’t see this influencing the prices of antique maps for much longer, because of their limited print runs before the year 1850. As far as I can observe, antique maps made before 1850 with print runs in the hundreds rather than thousands seem to be disappearing from the internet increasingly frequently, with their values rising accordingly.

It seems that the future for antique maps looks bright, expecially if one is prepared to take a long-term investment view.

Submitted 02/07/2014

Exploration in the Far North - Exhibition of Antique Maps in Archangel, Russia


Announcing the exhibition “From Europe to the Arctic. European Arctic Cartography - XV-XVII centuries”, which includes important material covering the voyages of Willem Barentsz. A special catalogue devoted to the 'Northern Regions' is available from Kunstantikvariat Pama of Oslo, Norway, contactable at

The exhibition takes place at the Museum of Fine Arts, Lenin Square 2, Arkhangelsk, Russia until February 2nd, 2014.

Paul Sagen.
Submitted 07/01/2014

Eighteenth Century Plan of Paris takes centre stage


'Antique maps nicely framed are just a step away from discovering new countries and horizons. Properly framed, lit, and displayed, antique maps can be a part of almost any successful design scheme.' So states leading decor consultant Marie Burgos.

Submitted 22/11/2013
 Editor: For large maps, see 'Antique Wall Maps' under Regions (above).

Another Husson copy comes to light

Our Antique Map Price Guide grows ever stronger.

If you have visited our 'Collect Antique Maps' page you will hopefully have noticed the second illustration, describing two copies of Husson's map of France, dated 1708. We have just been informed of a third copy, shown here, namely Elwe's version of 1788, which is similar to the others except that it lacks the title above the map. This additional information will be added to AMPG no. 22 in due course.

Submitted 17/09/2013
Editor: Although Pieter Husson was a 'minor' publisher of maps, most of his maps have been copied by several other publishers. They say imitation is the highest form of flattery! However, Husson also copied maps e.g. his map of the British Isles was copied from De L'Isle. according to Rodney Shirley. Any research material on Pieter Husson would be most welcome for publication here.

Mercator's Projection solved the 'course to steer'

A ship’s navigator needs a chart to plot his current position, to see how far he has progressed along his track and to estimate how far he still has to travel.  All charts prior to Mercator’s were distorted because of the curvature of the earth. So unless you were prepared to take a globe on board, which was impractical, you had problems.

Mercator realised that what was needed was for a navigator to be able to draw a straight line on a chart between the beginning and end points of his voyage, which corresponded with a fixed compass bearing.

This was only possible if your course happened to be horizontal or east – west. Any other course was problematic. Mercator solved this problem by progressively increasing the distance between lines of latitude away from the equator. This has the effect of compensating for the curvature of the earth and enabled navigators to cut across all lines of latitude at the same angle, and therefore in a straight line. This was called ‘plane’ sailing, now changed to plain.

The only inaccuracies occurred near to the North and South poles, which is where such places as Greenland and Magellan's Straits are grossly exaggerated in size. This is why some maps with Mercator’s projection had lines of longitude that converged to a point at the poles.

Mercator introduced his projection in 1569 but it took another 70 years for it to be fully accepted at sea.

Map World.
Submitted 20/07/2013

Maps of Texas more than holding their value in uncertain times

Auction of antique maps of Texas held in Austin, capital of Texas, on April 4/5, 2013.

The results of the auction show that the most desirable maps are unaffected by current global economic problems. The results also demonstrate that maps of local regions can be the most desirable. The auctioneer, Dorothy Sloan, offers some of the most detailed catalogue descriptions anywhere. One of the most famous maps of Texas, by Stephen F. Austin, was included in the auction (illustrated above). We had valued this 1836 updated re-issue of the original 1830 map at £50 000. On April 4 it sold for £130 000, not including the buyer’s premium.

Map World.
Submitted 04/04/2013
Editor: Texas is far from being the only 'hot spot' for investing in antique maps. For example, maps of Cyprus are doing well during the current financial turmoil in that country. For information about long-term investing, consult any (volumes 1 to 24) and check out the maps with rated values around £3000 or more. Waiting for them to go down in value is not advised.


A large collection of Polish maps that keeps more than 1700 items as at November 2015!


Chris Rencki only began collecting antique maps five years ago. Today, he has amassed a collection of more than 1100 items at his London home, from the 15th to the 18th century, from maps to town views, from miniatures to wall maps. He is determined to frame them all so that one day, after he is gone, they can be displayed 'for the next 500 years' at a Polish museum.

Map World.
Submitted 31/01/2013
Editor: Thanks for allowing us to share this.


A first-time acquisition; just uploaded our first map of Korea

Very few Western maps of Korea exist. Over the past centuries this country has kept a low profile, as South Korea tries to do in modern times.

Map World.
Submitted 22/12/2012

Customer Testimonial

Map arrived safely today. Very pleased with it. Best regards,

Dave (Professor).
Submitted 27/11/2012

Two illustrations to accompany Notes 1 and 2 below

Helping to dispel the myth that the earth was flat.

Thought these might be worth showing; the first printed map of Russia (1482) to incorporate 'modern' changes to Ptolemy's first-century-AD map, published in the Florence Ptolemy, and the Ulm Ptolemy1482 map of the world. As you point out in AMPG no. 1, this map copies something very important from the Florence Ptolemy published earlier the same year or more likely in 1481. This was the use of curved lines of longitude to indicate a three-dimensional curvature of the earth, which many people at the time believed was flat.


Submitted 16/11/2012

Early Mapmaking

Notes 1.

The printing press was invented around 1440. Printed words were images made from inked type-faces impressed on pieces of paper. However, the first maps in printed books were made by engraving lines and words into flat pieces of copper. The part that printed was not the metal face or surface, as in the case of type, but the cuts into the metal, after they were filled with ink. Printing what lies below the surface of a metal face is called Intaglio printing. Engraving maps was painstaking and highly skilled work and had to be done in the form of mirror images so that the printed image was the right way round. This was why early books of maps were extremely expensive to make and buy. This was perhaps just as well, as the soft copper plates became smooth after several hundred impressions were made from them. The first book of maps was produced in Bologna, Italy in 1477. The contents of the maps in this atlas were taken from Ptolemy of Alexandria’s work in the first century AD, which was passed on by hand copying before printing was invented. It was only in 1482 that some updates were made to Ptolemy’s ideas, in an atlas produced in Florence, Italy. Four of the 31 maps in this atlas (France, Spain, Italy and the Holy Land) were issued in two forms (Ptolemaic and ‘modern’) and a fifth map (Western Russia) was largely based on Ptolemy but included a few changes.

Notes 2.

Towards the end of 1482 the first printed atlas outside Italy was published in Ulm, Germany. It was based on Ptolemy’s ideas, just as the Florence, Italy atlas of earlier the same year, but the maps were not made by engraving copper sheets, as the Florence atlas was, but by cutting away wood blocks. The printed image was the raised part of the wood, not the cut away part. This method was just as painstaking as the Italian Intaglio method. But it suffered from additional problems, such as the impossibility of making fine lines, which included fine lettering. (The latter problem was solved in part by cutting holes in the wood and inserting typefaces). The publisher of the Ulm Atlas made up for its defects by colouring the maps by hand and by adding a fifth ‘modern’ map (Scandinavia). The project was successful for these reasons and was reprinted in 1486 with different colours, just as beautiful as those used in the first edition. However, the wood block method of printing was not used for mapmaking after the year 1600 - accuracy and fineness of detail were, and still are, of prime importance in mapmaking.

Submitted 02/11/2012

11th Annual Paris Antique Map & Travel Book Fair


The 11th annual Paris Antique Map & Travel book fair will take place on Saturday 10 NOVEMBER 2012 again in Hotel Ambassador in the centre of Paris.The fair will be open to the public from 11AM till 6PM.

Submitted 29/10/2012


An indispensible reference book on the sea charts of Norway.

Ginsberg, William B.
4to. Hard cover, dust wrapper. Price: EUR 112.00 Septentrionallium Press, New York, N.Y. 2009

Sea Charts of Norway, 1585–1812 is the first book to examine the sets of coastal charts of Norway by the major cartographers and their publishers. Its 13 chapters and 320 illustrations, some of which are of unrecorded maps, provide an overview of the historical development of Norwegian marine cartography and complement the author’s previous two works on maps of Norway and Scandinavia: Maps and Mapping of Norway, 1602–1855 and Printed Maps of Scandinavia and the Arctic, 1482–1601. Available from

Submitted 21/10/2012

Customer Testimonial

Many thanks – your lovely maps have just arrived. My bank manager did telephone me to explain and to apologise. I was shocked (though I would have been delighted to be paid by a map dealer for accepting his maps !!!). Typical commercial banking bureaucratic incompetence – I hope that it does not affect our future relationship.

Submitted 05/10/2012

Spending Time With Antique Maps

The more time you spend with antique maps, the better you’re able to develop an awareness of all aspects of this collecting field. Looking closely at lots of antique maps at every opportunity—from antique map shops to fairs to libraries to your own collection—helps to develop all of your map senses. And the more you do it, the more you’ll notice about antique maps that you just hadn’t noticed before. Whether it’s an awareness of the quality of engravings, the detection of repairs, or the different appearances of early and modern hand-colouring, nothing can replace long-term experience with the antique maps themselves.

The more antique maps you look at, the more you’ll see in them, especially if you keep your mind open to new possibilities and new aspects of potential interest. These can include physical characteristics, such as differences in paper and variant editions. There can also be striking variations in what publishers chose to include and omit in their maps. Earlier antique maps also present constant learning opportunities about explorers and the naming of their discoveries on maps. Collecting should be based on judgment, not just money, and this judgment comes from knowledge, including the knowledge gained from long and deep observation of the objects you’re collecting.

Submitted 06/09/2012

New Antique Maps Scam

Perhaps members of the antique map trade will be interested to hear about this on-line scam, which was new to me as an antique map dealer.

A prospective buyer, supposedly a shop selling mementos to tourists in Fiji, ordered £3000 of maps and wished to use their own shippers because the destination was ‘off the map’ and because of customs problems. They asked me to get an express quote from their shippers, which I did, making the total £3890, including collecting the maps from me. They then tried to settle by credit card before shipping. Fortunately for me the credit card centre was unable to locate the owner of the credit card to confirm the transaction was legitimate. I then became suspicious and checked out the shop in Fiji. It did not exist and neither did the shippers.

The scam was not to collect the maps but the £890 shipping charges, which I had to pay up front by Western Union immediately after being paid in full with a stolen credit card.

Antique Map Dealer.
Submitted 28/08/2012

Customer Testimonial

The map has arrived safely. A wonderful addition to my collection. Thank you.

Submitted 20/08/2012