Researching your old map


Unfortunately, the Archives and Special Collections of Franklin and Marshall College cannot research your map for you, and will not appraise the value of your map. The best place for information on your map is your own local library, a reputable antique map dealer, or a library holding a large map collection such as the New York Public Library , British Library, or Library of Congress. Map collector David Rumsey also has a site of interest.


General information on maps:

McCorkle, Barbara B. New England in early printed maps, 1513 to 1800 : an illustrated carto-bibliography. Providence, R.I.: John Carter Brown Library, 2001.

Moreland, Carl and David Bannister. Antique maps. 2nd ed. Oxford : Phaidon Christie's, 1986.

Potter, Jonathan. Country Life book of antique maps : an introduction to the history of maps and how to appreciate them. Secaucus [N.J.] : Chartwell Books, 1989.

Shirley, Rodney W. Early printed maps of the British Isles, 1477-1650. Completely rev. and updated ed. East Grinstead, West Sussex, England : Antique Atlas Publications, 1991.

Shirley, Rodney W. The mapping of the world : early printed world maps, 1472-1700. London : Holland Press, 1983.


For determining current (asking) values or purchasing maps:

International Antiquarian Mapsellers Association has a list of dealers and maps for sale.

Art Source International has useful collector information and maps for sale.

Old Maps.com PriceFinder has searchable listings of map auction prices realized for maps in recent years. While it is by subscription only, a free search can be conducted and a one day subscription can be purchased to view the results.

Although these sources may be helpful, one must remember that various factors such as condition, subject, scarcity, demand, etc., all play a part in determining value.


How to care for your map:

The Northeast Document Conservation Center, The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, and Library of Congress have helpful online advice for caring for paper and photographic artifacts. The International Map Collector's Society also has collection care tips.

For the services of a professional conservator, please link to the online directory of the American Institute for Conservation of Art and Historic Works


Purchasing reproductions:

Several commercial sources such as Allposters.com have reproductions for sale.

This page is not intended as a definitive guide or endorsement of any particular publication, source, or internet site. It is intended solely as a aide to research that will provide ideas where to start looking for information about your map.


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04/13/10 - mrl