Is This Antique Map in a Good Condition or Not?
Antique maps,ancient history map,antique map condition
If you are a dealer and wish to download your collection of antique maps
onto collectors, you are within your rights to give an excellent description
of each one! Of course, it is not to be wondered at if a lot of subjectivity
creeps into the descriptions. You probably rely on your reputation to
convey the impression that whatever you sell will definitely be in a good
condition. And you are offering a return guarantee in the bargain.
Now if you are a collector on the hunt for maps of the past, you would
do well to get varied catalogues about the same items so that you can
make a sensible comparison. Auction catalogues prove very useful as they
provide complete information about the condition of each map. If they
don’t, who is going to buy the items?
It is not unrealistic to expect such maps to be subjected to some amount
of wear and tear; after all, they were made from paper used for atlases.
And if they have traveled on the seas, you can imagine how many people
must have handled each one! Especially the antiques that have been handed
down from the 1800s may not even be in a repairable condition. However,
if you are a passionate collector, you will wish to own a map even in
this degraded condition! The price will depend on the condition of the
item being sold.
What are counted as major defects? The paper can turn terribly brown
if the map has been printed on poor quality paper (but you can now do
nothing about it), visible writing on the surface which has produced a
defacing effect, tears seen on the printed surface, and actual loss of
the printed surface.
Maps were carried around in a folded condition, as atlases. So, there
are bound to be centerfolds and possibly more in large maps. This is not
a defect—major or minor. If you can see aging of the paper in the form
of slight brown spotting or marginal tears or a little bit of creased
paper or some shadowing because of ink traveling across the folded map—these
are minor defects.
Here is further guidance on testing the condition of the antique map
you are planning to buy—
(1) The color is terribly faded and the paper presents a brittle and
highly acidic appearance—the map is in a “poor condition”. Definitely
calls for a great amount of cleaning and repair work.
(2) The color had only faded a little bit. Certain visible conditions
include scattered spotting (foxing), tearing into the printed surface,
or long separations on the centerfold. Now, this sort of map can be rejuvenated;
so it is in a “fair condition”.
(3) The same conditions as mentioned above are present—aging effect,
spotting or foxing, short separations on centerfold. Despite narrowing
of margins, the paper is still in a good condition and there is no loss
of the image. Colors are still vibrant. Your map is in a “good condition”.
(4) Your map presents a “very good condition” when the engraving is still
bright, clean and crisp. The paper is great and the image is intact. Coloring
is excellent. If there are any defects, they are to be seen in the margins—tiny
tears or slight discoloration.
(5) You have hit the jackpot if you should get an antique map in this
“excellent condition” or A+. The paper is sound, the engraving is marvelous,
colors are vivid, and the margins are wide.
The above-mentioned grading is genuine, considering that it has been
set as a standard in The Antique Map Price Record & Handbook 2001.
Even Art Source International and a majority of the map dealers follow
these guidelines. So, you should now be able to judge the age and price
of every antique map that you see.