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Map Descriptions

  • Popular/Common Title   A quick identification title for a map is sometimes used — e.g. "Munster’s Upside Down Europe".

  • Maker   The custom is to list the individual most often associated with a particular map. It may be the cartographer or the printer. We provide birth and death dates, if known.

  • Title   The full title is given verbatim. Occasionally, titles run on at length, in which case we give as much as will allow the reader to identify the map. Elipses […] indicate if a portion of the title is omitted.

  • Place of Publication   The place where the map or atlas was printed.

  • Date   The date the map was published. If we have an approximate date, instead of the actual date, we put c., ca. or circa in front of the date. If our map is a later printing we may put the first publication date of the map in parentheses — e.g. if the map first appeared in 1776 and our map is 1780, then the listing would be 1780 (1776).

  • Size   The dimensions are given in millimeters and inches, height x width. These measurements describe the size of the platemark for printed maps and maximum image size for hand-drawn maps. Printed maps sometimes possess dimensional variations due to paper shrinkage or expansion.

  • Printing Process   This simply describes the technology used to reproduce the map — e.g. woodblock, copperplate, steel plate, lithograph, hand-drawn, etc. If applicable, we may further describe the process as being etched, engraved, etc.

  • Color   If the color was applied at, or around, the time of the map's production we describe it as original or contemporary color. It may have been applied as full-body color or outline coloring. If we judge the color on a map to have been applied well after the map's production we indicate our opinion as to its modern coloring. If a cartouche or some other element is purposely uncolored (as for example, Homann’s maps) that will be mentioned.

  • Price   Just as with books, many factors determine the price of a map: condition, scarcity, territory depicted, historical importance, mapmaker and esthetics. Condition is of utmost importance, although it may take a backseat if the map is sufficiently rare and/or represents a highly sought after image, maker, etc.

  • Condition   A detailed description of the map with all flaws and repairs noted. The following is a summary of the system of describing map condition:
    •  Very Fine  These maps are clean and bright with a strong map image.
    •  Fine  These maps generally have a clean, sharp image. Paper quality and margin size may vary somewhat. These maps may have a few flaws which are minor in degree such as stitchholes, wormholes, age-toning, centerfold, etc. which do not effect the image. E.g. many early 16th century maps such as those by Munster were often printed on poor quality paper; some early map-makers had their map margins closely shaved, etc.
    •  Very Good  No significant imperfections. Flaws and repairs are noted.
    •  Good  Noticeable imperfections but still in a collectible condition. Foxing, weak map image, and/or long separations are detailed.
    •  Poor  Not a category we trade in unless the map is superlatively rare and any copy is sought after.

  • Narrative Description   Information such as the map’s special features, cartographic importance, etc. are mentioned in the catalogue narrative.

  • Reference   When possible, a bibiographic reference is given which usually provides further information on the map.