FAQs

The Americas, or a New and Precise Description of the Fourth Part of the World, 1562, Diego Gutiérrez, cartographer, and Hieronymus Cock, engraver, courtesy of the Library of Congress. For more information go to: http://www.loc.gov/rr/hispanic/frontiers/gutierrz.html

The Americas, or a New and Precise Description of the Fourth Part of the World, 1562, Diego Gutiérrez, cartographer, and Hieronymus Cock, engraver, courtesy of the Library of Congress. For more information go to visit the LoC.

How old is mapmaking?

It appears that mapmaking may have predated written language and originated in the Stone Age. A good early example from ~ 6200 BC is painted on a wall of the Catal Huyuk settlement in south-central Anatolia, today’s Turkey.

Why do people collect maps?

There may be nearly as many reasons as there are collectors.  Common reasons include:

  • I was born or live in the area shown on the maps.
  • Many maps are wonderful works of art.
  • Maps are a window into history, and many have fascinating stories.
  • Maps are an investment.

Are collectible maps expensive?

Of course uncommon, historically important and highly desirable maps can be very expensive.  But most maps are affordable and should be within reach of most of you visiting our Society’s web site.

Stanford University provides a list of web resources for appraising antiquarian maps and atlases at the Branner Earth Sciences Library and Map Collections

How do I know if an old map is authentic?

One CMS member who studies old maps recommends the following books as good guides to determining the authenticity of an old map:

  • How to Identify Prints: A complete guide to manual and mechanical process from woodcut to inkjet; by Bamber Gascoigne (second edition), $23.07 new.
  • The Complete Printmaker: Techniques/traditions/innovations revised and expanded edition; by John Ross, $30.20 new.
  • Painted Prints: The Revelation of Color: by Susan Dackerman, $38.95 new
  • Medieval Illuminators and Their Methods of Work: by Jonathan J.G. Alexander, $42.26 new.
  • The British Library Guide to Manuscript Illumination: History and techniques; by Christopher De Hamel, $15.92 new.
  • Medieval Craftsmen Scribes and Illuminators: by Christopher De Hamel, $10.95 new.

The suggested prices are from Amazon in early 2010.

Where can I see old maps and learn more about cartography on the web?

There are hundreds of sites on the internet that display old and new maps. Some allow for download as well. Here are a few sites that give a broad overview of historic cartography as well as display thousands of map images:

Are there websites that specialize in California maps?

Here are some of the best sites that specialize in California maps:

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