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Collecting Antique Prints and Maps

Collecting antiques prints and maps is a hobby for anyone. Antique prints need not be expensive. They can cost as little as $10 – or as much as $10,000. It's not necessary to spend a large amount of money to buy something of value that you can treasure - and it's evident around the world that people of all ages and backgrounds are equally fascinated by antique maps and prints.

Spend some time, choose carefully, and you will find something that will give you years of enjoyment. The artwork on your wall could be enjoyed in a rented apartment, and equally enjoyed years later in a more permanent home. Antique prints look good in both traditional and modern environments; and if your taste changes over the years, they can still be enjoyed when reframed in another style to suit.

Collecting antique maps and prints can be addictive.
There is so much that can be learnt from antique maps and prints. Find out as much as you can about the ones you like and you will find you enjoy them even more. Where something was published is usually possible, but to find out why it was published is more of a challenge. Learn a little about the effort that went into its production. If you appreciate the finer artistic detail, the method of creation, and the rarity of one original print, you will usually be interested in others as well - either by the same artist, engraver or cartographer, of the same subject or region, or of the same style or period.

Maps and prints show the history of the world.. or do they?
Some antique maps are theoretical - and provide entertainment today. Antique maps have a more obvious historic value as the coastlines changed when records were corrected as charting became more accurate. Country and state borders, and country, state and town names changed following political aggression, alienation and alliances. In Australia, our coastlines were among the last to be charted, so they show obvious interesting variations on antique maps over the last few hundred years. Someone who “gets the bug” of collecting antique maps is often said to have acquired “Map Pox”.

Antique prints, in particular those created from the sketches on early voyages of exploration, tell us a lot about the acceptance (or misbelief) of unfamiliar scenes, flora, fauna and peoples from foreign lands. When the artist was a scientist with good artistic ability, the result became quite important historically when it was published to circulate new discoveries or knowledge. However when an artist was challenged by not only limited artistic ability but also the movement or changes of the subject viewed, strange and equally collectable images result. Often these were published because no one else knew any better, so 'misinformation' was equally well circulated by antique prints!

Benefits of Collecting.
In most cases, the enjoyment of antique maps or prints is increased by knowing that they become rarer every day - particularly the earliest ones with contemporary colour (original from time of publication) and antique maps and prints on hand-made paper. As antique engravings and lithographs are on pieces of paper they are easily damaged if poorly handled. Special museum glass is now available to protect artwork from ultraviolet light.

If an antique map or print has been inherited or purchased well, and has been looked after, it should appreciate in value. When a specific antique map or antique print is particularly coveted and is difficult to locate, or if an antique map item is particularly fine, or of special historic importance, its value will increase more than antique prints and maps that are easier to find. The trick is to find antique prints that you love. That will definitely provide the most appreciation.

Rarity of antique prints and maps.
Regardless of the process by which it was made, an antique map or antique print represents a fascinating combination of history, science and art. Artistic skill was used in any illustration, whether it was a nature study, a view, architectural design, fashion, or any other subject. Antique prints and maps were originally the only means of recording and circulating images of information - and pictures have always been more popular than the written word! They are more readily appreciated and do not require any prior knowledge.

The time, skill and intricate work involved in the production of antique prints unfortunately became too expensive and were not longer economically viable - particularly the early custom of hand-colouring each engraving and lithograph. Early methods of first creating a printing plate using wood, copper, steel or limestone, are no longer used. Technology now enables an image to be created in a second, and the internet provides worldwide circulation. However the wide range of styles that were developed in the creation of antique maps and antique prints, and the brilliance of early printmakers cannot be denied. They are wonderful and relatively inexpensive works of art! Who wouldn't appreciate their increasing rarity today.



Posted: 1/08/2009 10:24:14 AM by | with 0 comments