How to Sell Antique Maps

Written by linda stamberger
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How to Sell Antique Maps
Sell your antique maps to collectors. (antique brass compass over old map image by Nikolay Okhitin from

Antique maps are interesting pieces of the past that depict areas before industrialisation. People who collect antique maps look for pieces in mint condition, meaning there are no holes or rips in the paper. However, some fading of inks is to be expected on very old maps. If you want to sell your maps, make sure they're in good condition.

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  1. 1

    Learn all you can about antique maps before you begin selling them by reading research books. Become familiar with the texture of old maps, what they look like, and how to spot a reproduction. Join an organisation such as the International Antiquarian Mapsellers Association.

  2. 2

    Sell antique maps at map fairs or antiques shows that specialise in map collecting or ephemera. Go to book fairs and see if there are map sellers present. Often you'll find antiquarian book and map sellers at different events.

  3. 3

    Open a shop in a historic tourist area. Make sure your shop is big enough to house your collection. Antique maps are easily stored and don't take up much room but need to be displayed properly for adequate exposure.

  4. 4

    Use rotating movie poster display stands with clear Plexiglas to showcase your maps. Put your rarest or most expensive maps behind Plexiglas so customers can't touch them, reducing the risk of damage to your maps.

  5. 5

    Index smaller maps in a book that customers can look through. Protect maps with clear acrylic pockets or pages.

  6. 6

    Handle maps yourself when showing them to a potential customer. Some map dealers wear white cotton gloves when handling rare maps. Oils from your skin can damage delicate paper fibres. Provide a magnifying glass so customers can examine map details.

  7. 7

    Sell maps on your own website and at online auctions. Make sure to list all dimensions, flaws, colours, origin, provenance, and other details so buyers and bidders know exactly what they are purchasing.

    Showcase on your website the types of maps that you have for sale, as well as a bio that includes your background, education, and areas of expertise. You may also write a blog about funny stories or adventures you've had on map-finding expeditions.

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