Antique maps and historical prints are terrific collectibles… for $500-2500 you can purchase an image that provides an immediate connection with history, looks great on the wall, and—to my mind at least!—remains undervalued relative to other collecting fields.
Now, I understand that new collectors have all kinds of questions: What should I collect? What makes a “good” map? How do I know the price is fair? How do I know I’m not buying a fake?
Here are just a few pieces of advice: First, start educating yourself. Pick up a book on old maps, or maybe surf the internet for material that interests you. For instance, here’s an article I wrote about “How do I know an antique map or print is real?”
Second, find a dealer you like and trust, and who is willing to put some time into guiding you as you begin building your collection. One sign of a good dealer is his or her membership in a professional association with a strong code of ethics, such as the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America.
Above all, don’t let “analysis paralysis” get in your way! Buy a piece (or two or three!) that you like and whose cost is well within your comfort range, and see what happens. Frame it (or them) and hang it on the wall, and use it as an opportunity to start learning more. If after a few months you’re no longer in love with it, don’t worry…. you will probably be able to trade it for another one you like better. If after a few months you still love it, great! Maybe buy another, related map, and start developing your collection from there.
Here are a few examples of “starter” maps and prints we’re currently offering. Feel free to call or email if we can be of assistance in any way.