Collecting old maps: an addictive hobby!

Collecting old maps: an addictive hobby!

The collection of old maps is much less widespread than other types of collections such as numismatism or philately. And as proof, despite my research, I have never found a specific term to designate this type of collection! However, collecting old maps remains a hobby in its own right, just as exciting, and which offers a fascinating dive into History, Geography, Science and Adventure. I have been collecting maps for over 10 years now and over time, I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with different types of old map collectors. In this article, I present to you how these enthusiasts approach the collection of old geographical maps.

The collector of all types of old maps!

Collectors of all types of old maps are generally amateurs recently introduced to this universe. They are drawn to the intrinsic beauty of ancient maps and are open to all times and places. Their collection is often diverse, reflecting their continued discovery of the world of old maps. For them, each map represents a new discovery, a new journey through time.

Someone who collects old maps of a particular place

This type of collector is deeply attached to a specific place, whether it is his birthplace, a place where he regularly vacations, or simply a place whose history intrigues him. So, I happened to meet collectors of old maps from the Maghreb or even collectors of old maps from Lorraine ! They seek to acquire as many different representations of this place as possible through the ages, ranging for example from Cassini maps to IGN maps. Research can be tedious, but the satisfaction of comparing maps and tracking how a place changes over time is priceless. For these collectors, each map is a piece of their personal history.

Someone who collects a type of old map

Some collectors fall in love with a specific type of antique map because of its beauty, the quality of its information, or its historical significance. They then embark on a quest to obtain all maps of this type, whether IGN maps at a scale of 1:50,000, General Staff maps, or even Cassini maps. Armed with patience and their assembly board, they seek everywhere to complete their collection in order to preserve, observe and share a specific part of cartographic history.

The one who collects rare maps

I always repeat: the true value of a map does not lie in its price but in what it evokes for us. Sometimes, a €20 map moves us more than a €1000 map! But for some collectors, the rarity of a map is what makes it valuable and moves them. They like to feel, when they hold and look at the map, that only a lucky few were able to observe it and that the map itself had a story. Some collectors are therefore looking for this rarity which, of course, commands a higher price!

Conclusion: There are as many ways to collect old map as there are collectors!

Whether you're drawn to the diversity of maps, attached to a particular location, passionate about a specific type of map, or looking for rarity, the key is to follow your passion. The collection of ancient maps offers a captivating journey through time and space, where each map tells a unique story. So, what type of old map collector are you?