I used to love collecting things like snow globes, comic books, miniature figurines. However, it never crossed my mind to collect maps. In the article, Here Be Dragons – And Map Lovers, people actually pay over hundreds of thousands of dollars on early century maps of North American territories. The highest price paid ever for a map was $10 million, paid by the Library of Congress to Price Waldburg-Wolfegg of Germany in 2003, for the 1507 Waldseemüller map. (See here.)
December will be a busy month for map collectors. There is an auction, set on December 5by Arader Galleries in New York, dedicated to incorrectly plotted maps, globes, atlases and other related objects. They will be offering 50 maps with prices ranging from $450,000 to $600,000. On December 6, the very next day, Swann Galleries will be hosting an auction with over 250 pieces to sell. On December 7, Christie’s will host an auction with a Revolutionary War-era map of the New York region for an estimated $700,000 to $1 million.
Many of the maps were interesting to look at; especially the lion shaped one by Hessel Gerritsz. It is interesting to see how people depict places they have never seen. There are so many different shapes the land masses transform into. The maps really demonstrate the process of geographic discovery and progression over the centuries. Personally, I do not think it is worth the money everyone shells out for them. What is the point in investing in a map that will not get you to your destination and will most definitely get you lost? Is that not what a map is conventionally used for?
A well-known collector is Ned Davis who claimed, “It’s just kind of cool to think about what it would be like if California really was an island.” What value do you think collectors find in collecting maps with mistakes? Is it just for those who want to satisfy their imagination? Would any of you consider collecting maps? Do you think this can become a popularized form of art?