Antique Maps

Mapmaking dates to at least the late 15th century, just a few decades after Gutenberg’s introduction of the first moveable type printing press. By the time of Queen Elizabeth’s reign during the second half of the 16th century, people were already collecting these documents, which were usually bound in books, making them important additions to any self-respecting library. The large bulk of highly collectible maps will have been printed between about 1472 and 1860. This period opens with the first known use of printing to reproduce a map (Isidore's TO map of the World of 1472), continues through the age of atlases as luxury goods for rich connoisseurs, and ends when leaps in printing technology allowed maps to be mass produced.