Jasper52 map auction offers a world of choices

Maps are beautiful, decorative, and functional. Not only do they put the world in your hands, they let you fold or roll it up and carry it with you, wherever you might roam. It’s not surprising that collectors’ appetite for maps has been, and continues to be, absolutely insatiable. On May 4, starting at 8 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will kick off its Premium Antiquarian Maps sale.

‘Asia According to the Sieur D’anville,’ 1772, estimated at $3,000-$4,000

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

World of possibilities in Apr 27 antiquarian map sale

Buckaroo Banzai, lead character of the eponymous 1984 cult movie, said, “No matter where you go, there you are.” A good map lets you identify exactly where you are, but it’s perfectly OK to treat maps purely as works of art, or as a reminder of good times enjoyed in great places. On April 27, starting at 8 pm Eastern time, Jasper52 will stage a sale of 16th – 20th century antiquarian maps, selected by expert Steve Kovacs.

Large German map of the Middle East and India, estimated at $350-$400

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Mapmaking turned globular in 15th century

NEW YORK – “Globes have something mystical about them,” enthuses Vienna’s Globe Museum website, “… echoes of long-gone days when ‘here be dragons’ was a plausible entry on maps. Most of us spent at least some time as a child poking at a globe with a finger and discovering just how little geography we know.”

Globes are spherical orbs overlain with terrestrial (earthly) or celestial (heavenly) maps. Though their images are downscaled, they depict vast areas accurately, without distortion. All feature a set of lines: longitude and latitude, the equator, the path of the sun, circles of the Tropics, and the Antarctic and Arctic Circles.

Terrestrial globe, Willem Jansz Blaeu, Amsterdam, 1602. Height (in stand) 21in x 13in diameter. Realized $80,000 + buyer’s premium in 2015. Image courtesy of Arader Galleries
and LiveAuctioneers

Traditionally, globes are formed by positioning two half-hemisphere, papier mâché shells on their axis, then securing them at holes at their poles, and uniting them. Next, gores, strips of segmented maps narrowing to points, are glued in place. Though strides in printing eventually allowed quicker, cheaper production, this manufacturing method has barely changed through the years.

Original hand-colored lithographed gores for 10.2in globe, japan tissue. L.C. Hasselgren, Stockholm, 1864. Realized £60 + buyer’s premium in 2014. Image courtesy of Bloomsbury Auctions and LiveAuctioneers

Because the ancients saw the sun rise and set at the horizon, many believed that the earth is flat. Controversy arose in the fifth century B.C., when Greek philosopher Pythagoras introduced the concept of a spherical earth. The following century, Aristotle, through observation, confirmed this. Yet according to scholars, the earliest known terrestrial globe, depicting the inhabited world and three imagined continents bound by belts of water, appeared hundreds of years later.

Though terrestrial globes apparently existed in ancient Rome and the Islamic world, the oldest surviving one, named Erdapfel (earth-apple in German), dates from 1492. Since Christopher Columbus had not YET completed his first expedition, it does not depict the Americas.

Joslin terrestrial/lunar globes on a cast-iron base with revolving mechanism, 6in diameter. Realized $3,750 + buyer’s premium in 2013. Image courtesy of Grogan & Co. and LiveAuctioneers

As man’s knowledge of the world grew, demand for updated, accurately mapped globes rose. Between 1597 through the early 1600s, the golden age of Dutch mapmaking, cartographers like Van Langren and Hondius competed for the lucrative market. Some, to speed production, copied competitors’ hand-painted or printed maps, simply altering landforms or adding geographical names. Others, like leading globemaker Willem Jansz Blaeu, crafted completely new creations featuring fine, copper-engraved scripts, ornate cartouches and curiously charming images of nomads, sailing ships, sea monsters and cannibals.

Terrestrial globe displaying discoveries of Capt. James Cook, with rococo cartouches, zodiac illustrations on braced horizon band. C.F. Delamarche, 1801. 8.4in diameter on a wooden stand. Image courtesy of Altea Gallery

London globemakers Senex, Adams and Ferguson pioneered globe production through the 1700s, as British trade and travel increased. Cary, Philip , Johnston, C. Smith & Sons, and others followed, marketing not only to educational bodies, but also to Britain’s expanding merchant class.

Through the 1840s, when British societies funded expeditions and fostered natural research, pocket globes, prestigious orbs housed in sleek, fish-skin cases or luxurious, lidded boxes, delighted the country’s upper classes. Though barely 3 inches in diameter, most marked major mountain ranges, rivers, islands, as well as ocean trade winds. Moreover, their interiors sometime featured concave world maps, historical timelines or celestial charts. Since geographic study was a popular Victorian pastime, these tiny globes also graced many a family parlor.

Rare W. & A.K. Johnston 1879 celestial globe, Edinburgh & London, 18in on a cast-iron base, overall 45in x 24in. Realized $3,400 + buyer’s premium in 2015. Image courtesy of North American Auction Co. and LiveAuctioneers

In time, fine globes were produced not only across Europe, but also in America. Early

manufacturers, including Wilson, Joslin, Copley, Franklin and Schedler, were based along the Eastern Seaboard. Though most created standard size globes for home and instructional use, Charles Holbrook created affordable 3- and 5-inch “hemisphere” orbs as hands-on, rudimentary tools for schoolchildren. (Despite their solid wood cores, surviving ones are often worn beyond repair.)

George III pocket globe, John Miller, 1793, terrestrial globe with a hand-colored celestial map applied to the interior of its leather case. Realized $7,500 + buyer’s premium in 2010. Image courtesy of DuMouchelles and LiveAuctioneers

In the early 1860s, A.H. Andrews, a Holbrook employee, set up his own globemaking company in Chicago. Since then, Chicago, home to Weber Costello, Rand McNally, Chicago Globe Makers and other companies, has become the leading center for commercial cartographic publishing and globe production in America.

Many collectors seek vintage terrestrial globes issued in limited numbers. Yet size and condition also affect their value. Those depicting a geographical discovery for the first time – or near its date of discovery, for example, are particularly desirable. So are globes featuring vivid, hand-colored, original maps bearing extensive, crisp detail, symbols and ornamentation – especially those by noted cartographers. A beautiful, original mount may also increase a vintage globe’s worth considerably.

Illuminated brass, glass and paper globe, 17in x 9½in, Paul Dupre-Lafon, circa 1927. Realized $17,000 + buyer’s premium in 2011. Image courtesy of Phillips and LiveAuctioneers

European globes were traditionally mounted on mahogany, walnut, cherry or rosewood bases following popular furniture styles and fashions. American globes were often mounted on turned wood, brass or cast-iron bases. Larger models, displayed in libraries or studies, sat securely atop pedestal floor mounts. Smaller ones, designed for table or desk use, were cradled within low footed bases. Most featured supportive horizontal bands representing the celestial horizon, as well as vertical meridian bands, indicating longitude.

Globes, to some, may all appear alike. Yet to enthusiasts, each, reflecting history, science and art at its time of creation, is a world unto itself.

Jasper52 maps auction Jan. 21 charts distant places

The 18th-century voyages and discoveries by European explorers in the South Pacific are chronicled in one of more than 100 antiquarian maps offered in an online auction that will be conducted by Jasper52 on Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Italian map reflecting the discoveries made in the Southern Pacific Ocean between 1765 and 1769, by Antonio Zatta, G. Zuliani and G Pasquali, published in 1779, 13¼ x 17¼in. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Cruising with a premium antiquarian map auction July 16

Anchors away! Set sail for foreign ports with a Jasper52 online auction of antique and collectible maps and atlases that will launch Tuesday, July 16. The selection of more than 120 lots ranges from a 15th century map of the world that was published a year after Columbus’ first voyage to the New World to a humorous pictorial Wonderground Map of London Town of 1928.

World map dated 1493, woodblock engraving, 18in. x 25in., excellent condition. Estimate: $9,000-$11,000. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Far corners of the globe found in antiquarian map sale May 15

Collectors can find their place in the world and even the solar system by viewing the Premium Antiquarian Maps auction that will be held by Jasper52 on Wednesday, May 15. More than 100 antique illustrated maps and views by some of the most significant cartographers of their times will cross the auction block.

Cellarius celestial map from the Southern Hemisphere, Valk & Schenk edition, 1708, Amsterdam, 16.8in. x 19.1in. Estimate: $2,000-$2,500. Jasper52 image

View the auction here.

Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Star lot in Jasper52 map auction Jan. 29 charts Lindbergh flight

A large map charting American aviator Charles A. Lindbergh’s historic flights is one of more than 100 collectible and antique maps offered in an online auction to be conducted by Jasper52 on Tuesday, Jan. 29. Ernest C. Clegg (1876-1954) a British-born artist, illustrator and pictorial cartographer created the Lindbergh map shortly after Lindbergh made the first solo nonstop transatlantic flight, from New York to Paris in May 1927.

Phelps’s National Map of the United States, a Travellers Guide, 1847, cartographers: J.M. Atwood and H. Phelps, 21 x 25.4 inches. Estimate: $600-$700. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Mapmakers to the world featured in Jasper52 auction June 26

Maps made by the world’s most renowned cartographers of their times are presented in an auction to be conducted by Jasper52 on Tuesday, June 26. Not only will these antique maps serve as decorative pieces, but they also will reveal innumerable ways to view our world, from Imperial Russia to the to the Strait of Magellan.

Covens and Mortier World Map, Amsterdam, 1745, 19.9 x 25.5 in. Estimate: $1,500-$2,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

Jasper52 map auction June 12 affords views of major cities

A 16th-century bird’s-eye view of Venice is one of many fascinating offerings in an online auction of Antiquarian Pictorial Maps & City Views to be held by Jasper52 on Tuesday, June 12. The more than 250 maps in the auction range from the 1500s into the 20th century.

Bird’s-eye view of Venice by Braun and Hogenberg, 1574, Cologne, 13¼ x 18¾ in. Estimate: $3,500-$5,000. Jasper52 image

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Learn more about the auction on Auction Central News.

How to Preserve Antique Maps

“Maps are a universal medium for communication, easily understood and appreciated by most people, regardless of language or culture,” said revered American geologist Daniel F. Merriam.

Throughout the history of humanity people have been going to or coming from some place. It’s a shared experience, if not physically, certainly intellectually. In some cases, that shared experience has contributed to maps. Most often today, it’s a digital map of some type that guides people in their travels. However, not so long ago printed maps were a daily part of life, and a folded paper map could be found in the glove compartment of nearly every vehicle on the road. Schoolchildren could expect to see a map of the world in their classrooms.

Map with a view of various sections of Alabama and West Florida, created by John L Tourette in the fourth quarter of the 18th century. It features various sections of the area in map in separate segments. Sold for $35,000 in February of 2017. Image by Neal Auction Company and LiveAuctioneers.

Today, antique and vintage maps are objects appreciated by collectors, historians, artists and academics, among others. To learn the ins and outs of collecting maps, see the archived article Collecting Old Maps, featuring expertise from Jasper52’s resident map expert Steve Kovacs.

Once again we turn to Steve for insight on the correct way to conserve old maps so they can remain intact and beautiful for future generations to enjoy.

Does the type of materials the map is printed on make a difference in whether or how quickly a map may deteriorate? Is it true some of the earlier maps, made of a paper with a fiber core, fare better over time than some made from more modern elements? 

The nature and quality of the paper substrate (n.b. – underlying layer of material) on which the map is printed are among the most important factors impacting the long-term condition of the map. Interestingly, older maps, primarily pre-1800, are more likely to maintain their condition, given that they were usually made of linen rags or flax with longer fibers and were low in acid-producing lignin content. With the ever-growing demand for paper to make maps, books and newspapers, by the early to mid-1800s the industry increasingly turned to a much cheaper paper source, wood pulp. Wood-based paper unfortunately has shorter fibers and much more lignin, which is a natural part of the wood structure. In turn, lignin will give off organic acids upon exposure to air and light, and these acids cause yellowing, browning and brittleness to the paper over time.

What are some of the most common issues impacting the condition of a map, and what are some specific steps one can take to avoid each?

As with paper in general, moist or wet conditions, large temperature fluctuations, UV light, oxygen in the air, and pests (worms, insects, rodents) can all contribute to the degradation of the paper itself or the pigment or dye in colored maps. Aside from handling abuses or crayon or ink markings, most condition issues are caused by these environmental factors. Moisture in combination with higher temperatures often causes mildew to develop. UV light and oxygen can cause foxing (reddish-brown spots), yellowing, browning and brittleness, especially in paper made of wood pulp, and degrade some pigments and dyes, thus changing or fading the colors.

To mitigate these potential issues, some common-sense steps in storage or display should be exercised, as outlined in the next section. Also, if the map is dear to you, consider cleaning and professional de-acidification – a simple washing process – to minimize any further yellowing, browning or brittleness that might otherwise occur.

The Museum of Old Maps is located in Bucharest, Romania. Here are several antique maps from the museum’s collection on public display. Image courtesy

View a presentation of conservation techniques involving the treatment of an 1808 map of Milledgeville, Georgia. Note: The video is visual only; no sound:

What are some options for storing maps properly and safely?

Maps should be kept in typical room-temperature and humidity conditions, so not in hot attics, not in damp basements, and not next to heat sources. Preferably keep the maps laid flat in boxes or shallow drawers and, less ideally, gently rolled in a tube that is at least three inches in diameter. Very importantly, longer-term direct physical contact with the map should be only by archival, acid-free materials, an excellent option among these being polyester (e.g., Mylar) sleeves or acid-free paper. Avoid direct sun exposure and handling with dirty hands.

How would you recommend someone display an antique map, if that is their intention, so it isn’t compromised by light and moisture?

Many of us elect to display some of our favorite maps, and usually in frames. Before framing, it’s best to restore the map if there are any defects. As noted earlier, all physical contact with the map should be with archival, acid-free material, including the matting, the support board behind the map, etc. Do not glue the map to a board or backing; rather, use mounting corners or possibly acid-free hinging tapes to hold the map in place. If the map is fragile, backing with Japanese paper might be warranted. Avoid direct contact between map and glass. UV glass should be used, and do keep the framed map away from direct sunlight and heat sources. A professional framer who is familiar with maps should be considered.

What are some signs that a map is damaged? Some are more obvious than others I suspect, so how can you tell?

Most damage is readily visible on a map: 1) discoloration due to mildew, soiling, foxing, yellowing, browning, color fading; 2) voids caused by pests or mishandling, 3) tears, splits; 4) water stains, 5) uneven surfaces, etc. Needless to say, both sides should be evaluated. Brittleness is often not visible but can be devastating to a map.

If a map is damaged is finding a conservator the best next step? What kind of things should one look for or check on to determine the conservator you are looking to work with is reputable?

Nothing lasts forever, but if a map is damaged, short of a minor issue (unclean surface, small tear, slight and age appropriate discoloration), it is typically best to engage a professional conservator or restoration expert, or your map might suffer considerably over time. Cleaning dirt off the surface, closing a small tear with archival material on the back or minor flattening under weights are about as far most of us ought to take do it yourself conservation, and only if one is confident doing so after reading how to perform the task properly.

Engraved map of British and French Dominions in North America, published February 13, 1755, created by Thomas Kitchen after John Mitchell. Seldom-seen first edition, and first issue. Twenty-one editions and impressions of this map appeared between 1755 and 1781. This map was part of a noted moment of cartographic warfare when tension over territory and dominance within the new country was shaping up, just ahead of the French and Indian war. Sold for $400,000 during a June 2017 auction. Rader Galleries and LiveAuctioneers image.

The process of finding a conservator or restoration expert is like finding any other good professional. Most people would rely on information such as: a) personal recommendations by trusted antique map or book dealers or fellow map collectors; b) inquiring about length of time in the conservation and restoration business; c) learning about their experience base suggested by their client list (see if they have serviced antique map and book dealers and institutions) and viewing before-and-after restoration images of items; d) considering their professional accreditations (i.e., AIC – American Institute of Conservation) and the like.

While having the conservator nearby is good, shipping to a conservator is a good option as well. Do get an estimate up front, though (pictures of the problems to be resolved do help), as restoration service pricing can vary significantly. There are numerous individuals or companies offering restoration and conservation of works on paper – maps, books, letters, paintings – and some also deal with other forms, such as paintings on canvas, photographs, etc.

What are your four best pieces of advice when it comes to preserving and caring for an antique map?

When it comes to preservation and care of maps I’d offer the following thoughts:

  • Enjoy your maps. Chances are, most of them are many multiples of your age and have survived. But don’t add stress to their lives through abuse or neglect. Be knowledgeable what heals them and what prolongs their lives.    
  • The most important and likely easiest step is to help mitigate any future deterioration through appropriately storing or displaying your maps, as was discussed earlier.
  • Decide what role each map plays in your life. Is it dear to your heart? Will you or do you already prominently display it? Will you keep it in your collection long term? Or, is it just a nice-to-have map? The more important the map is to you, the more important it is that you proactively consider any restoration that might be needed.   
  • When it comes to active conservation and restoration, aside from minor steps, it is typically best to use the services of a professional conservator or restoration expert. With that said, balance the cost of restoration with the monetary and sentimental value of the map.

If you are looking for a new subject on which to focus your collecting efforts, you might want to consider antique and vintage maps, which are a fusion of several interests in one fascinating topic.

About the Expert:

Steve Kovacs has been passionate about geography and maps for five decades. His interest has taken him from studying and collecting maps to opening a boutique online map gallery. He also enjoys putting his knowledge of maps to use for his global travels – he’s visited 55 countries so far. He also has a background in science, engineering and business. He is a member of the International Map Collectors’ Society and serves as the expert curating Map auctions for Jasper52.