January  2014 Newsletter
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January 9, 2014 
Dear Map Enthusiast,

 
Yes, it's winter on Cape Cod! We have had almost 20 inches of new snow thus far.  The days are short, but the energy to add hundreds of new maps to our website is running high. Inspired by a busy holiday season and the enthusiasm of our customers, we are updating our website constantly to bring you new maps in exciting new categories. We love to talk about our products and welcome any inquiries you may have. 

 

We had planned to send out an e-newsletter in the fall but were unable to do so because we were short-staffed. We have since added several employees who have infused our business with new energy and talent. We welcome feedback about this newsletter and suggestions for any topics you would like to see covered in the next issue. Please e-mail your questions or comments to us at: bob@mapsofantiquity.com  or call us at (508) 945-1660.

Dating Nautical Charts
Before the development of GPS, nautical charts were among the most important items aboard a ship. Along with the compass, sextant, and captain, nautical charts were essential to effective navigation.  Because it was crucial to have up-to-date information in preparation for each voyage, the latest charts were always acquired and older charts were set aside, or sometimes simply discarded.  
 

 
Determining the age of nautical chart can be challenging. Most charts have a prominently printed date associated with the title. If no other dates appear elsewhere, that is the most likely date of issue. Some charts, particularly U. S. Coast and Geodetic charts, have a notation of  "date of first publication."  This notation refers to the date the chart plate was first made.  There may also be a clear notation of  "additions" or "corrections" to a specific date.  
 
Many of the late 19th Century American charts show updates for different chart features: triangulation (long distance locations of land forms), topography (land elevation and land forms), and hydrography (water depth and hazard locations), as well as corrected astronomical and magnetic variation observations.  The most recent of these dates will be the actual date of the chart.  During the later part of the 19th Century, many charts were also stamped with the purchase date in the lower left margin. This date made it easy to compare visually similar charts in order to have the most recent data available for a voyage.  
 
A first edition chart is usually more valuable than a later version, unless the more recent chart includes significant features of interest to buyers, such as a view of the horizon as seen from the ship, or other illustrations.   

Wall Maps vs. School House Maps
 

  

We are often asked about the value of large-sized, rolled maps. School maps are the pull-down type, usually on rollers with springs. These were generally printed between 1900 and the 1930's. They remained popular until the 1960's, when folded and eventually computerized maps were primarily used to teach geography. Placing a value on a map requires consideration of many factors. 

Generally, hand-colored wall maps are more valuable than the more recently printed school maps. Large early maps, which we refer to as "wall" maps, were used for tax records, insurance, road development, or for anything which needed expanded views of land. These maps were lithographed on multiple sheets, brightly hand colored, and varnished to "protect them".  In the early 1800's, everyone wanted to touch the maps that they were studying. These maps were backed in linen and usually attached to rods; a flat one at the top and a rounded one at the bottom. Their overall size was often 4 or 5 feet square, but was sometimes as small as 2 x 3 feet.

Many of these wall maps included insets of more detailed areas like downtown streets and buildings, engravings of natural, cultural, and political scenes, and statistics of population and consumer products. Often wall maps included a directory of local businesses. Those businesses were listed for financial and general sponsorship in the production of the maps, and the businesses would each receive at least one map, if not more.


The school house maps were produced in larger quantities and also represented more general areas such as the United States, North America, or the World.  

 

How to Value a Map 

   

 

There are many tools available to help determine a map's value, including reference books, the Internet, and your friendly neighborhood map dealers!  To get the most definitive answers, we suggest a formal appraisal provided in writing by an experienced map appraiser. It is important that the map be present for your appraisal, as photographs do not allow for proper analysis of ink type or paper. Most appraisers will let you know whether or not your maps are worth appraising before beginning the process.


When determining the value of a map, you must identify the reason. Do you want an appraisal for insurance purposes, or are you more interested in your map's resale value?

Those values will vary quite a bit because if you are selling your piece to a dealer, for resale, you will only receive a portion of the appraised value.


Factors that impact the value of a map include the name of the map, the geographic area represented, its mapmaker, date, condition, rarity, and how it was acquired.  Is the map colored by hand? Is the color original? If the map was restored, what was the quality of the restoration?  What has the map sold for over time?  

 

If you wish to sell your map, an appraiser normally would not be able to purchase it due to a conflict of interest, but could offer you advice on selling your map.  An appraiser might make you an offer for your map instead of appraising it.  If you want to sell your map, you should have a price in mind that is sufficient for you and compelling for the purchaser. 

 

Map Framing 101
Maps of Antiquity offers in-house custom framing for the convenience of our customers. We use the latest advances in conservation framing for all of our work. Conservation framing refers to the use of UV protective glass and materials that are acid free, including mat boards, foam core filler, adhesives, and backing paper.  
The number of choices and varying costs can make the process of framing printed material seem overwhelming. Here is some information to consider:

 

1) Selection of frame type, material and color.  Most of our frames are made of wood, but we can frame with metal or plastic as well.  Wooden frames come in a  broad range of wood types, colors, widths, and shapes.  For maps, we often suggest that the frame be somewhat subdued, meaning neutral in color, to emphasize the map. 
 
Frame type is really a matter of taste, but for larger pieces, it is essential that the width of the frame be able to support the weight of the piece. Your personal style is another consideration. Do you want your framed piece to match your furniture, or other framed pieces, or stand apart from other items? 
 
 


2) The price of a frame can vary enormously, so it's important to decide if price is a priority.  The perfect frame can create an impact like a piece of furniture, enhance your piece, add value, and  last a lifetime. Some factors impacting the cost of a frame include its size, width (how much material is used), complexity of the moulding/detailing, and rarity of the material.  We usually classify our frame material (moulding) into 3 categories; modest, medium, and top-of-the-line. There are plenty of choices at each price level. 
 
3) To mat or not to mat?  Matting can enhance a piece by adding color and size.  Mats also create a small but important pocket of air between the glass or Plexiglas and the surface of the piece.  Some charts and early maps might look more rustic without a mat.  If you do not use a mat, narrow strips of plastic, called spacers, can be used to invisibly raise the glass or Plexiglas off of the piece.

4) The many choices of mat color and style.  The easiest feature to change on a framed piece is its mat, so the task of choosing the right one(s) should be less daunting.
 

You can use a single mat, a double mat, or more, to create a colored surround for your piece.  Narrow wooden inserts, called fillets, can also be added to the inner edge of the frame to create more depth and interest.  

 

Mats also come in a wide range of  types and textures.  The surfaces of mats come in a broad range of solid colors, and some have textures or patterns. The mat's core may be black or white, or may match the color of the surface. The most expensive mats include those with linen or silk surfaces. Pieces measuring over 40 by 60 inches can only be matted in white or can be framed using other techniques such as double framing, where a flat liner frame is used to simulate at mat.

    

We often suggest that customers select off-white mats to compliment maps or prints that may not be snowy white. We also suggest the use of black-core mats which can create the illusion of double matting.  Mat width is a matter of preference, but is most frequently 1.5 to 2.5 inches.  Larger mat widths or boldly colored mats can add drama, especially to small or uncolored pieces.  

 

One final word on matting. If you have older pieces that are framed with a mat, take a look at the mat core. If the core of the mat is brown, it is an indication that your piece was framed without an acid-free mat. The brown color is a result of acids leaching from the mat, which will damage your piece over time. In order to protect your piece, these mats should be replaced as soon as possible.  

 

5) Glass types - You should always use UV protective glass or Plexiglas to protect your piece from fading.  Both glass and Plexiglas come in three types of surfaces: regular, reflection control, or museum quality.  Most of the glass we use is regular UV glass. If your piece will be exposed to excessive light from sunny windows, mirrors, or lighting with exposed bulbs, then non reflective glass will reduce the impact of these light sources. Some people think that non-reflective glass looks slightly milky, reducing the clarity of the image. Museum quality glass boasts all the advantages of non-reflective glass without any milky appearance, but is much more expensive. The choice of glass is a personal decision. We often recommend museum glass for small pieces, because cost is related to size and museum glass can make a piece look like there is no glass at all between your piece and its admirers.  

 

During the last twenty years, Plexiglas has made vast advances in quality. It no longer has the tendency to fog over time. It can scratch, as can any glass with UV protection. All UV protected material should be cleaned with a soft cloth. We recommend Plexiglas for pieces that will be shipped and for pieces that are over 32 by 40 inches. Glass for larger pieces is heavy and somewhat dangerous.    

 
6) On the back of the framed piece, you may want to add the purchase date, where it was purchased, and any information you may wish to preserve for posterity. On framed antique pieces, we add a sticker to the back with the title of the piece, its maker, and a date authenticating the map or print as a genuine antique.   

Book Review:  


 

Noted cartographer, Walter Ristow, 1908 - 2006, produced an impressive 488-page reference book in 1988 called, "America Maps and Mapmakers."  This book is considered one of the most comprehensive publications compiled on U.S. maps and mapmakers. The inclusion of general descriptions as well as deeper levels of detail make for an impressive reference book with a comprehensive index.  The black and white pictures are not, however, always clear, but they are generously populated throughout the book.


The chapters in this publication are divided by mapmakers, map types, and styles.  The book begins with colonial maps drawn in 1755 and continues chronologically to Rand McNally maps printed in 1891.  While describing nautical charts and globes, Ristow refers back to earlier periods of mapmaking.  We recommend this book because the level of detail and variety of topics within American map-making creates a remarkable resource for anyone interested in the subject matter.

 

Of Note:

Did you know that Maps of Antiquity also has a guest house?  You can look at maps all day long and rest in the evening in the very same building!  Our accommodations include two suites and one spacious room, each with a private bath and separate entrance.  For more information about lodging in our restored 18th century farmhouse, visit  www.chathamguestrooms.com.  

Private Living
Room of Garden Suite

 

Both Maps of Antiquity and Chatham Guest Rooms have earned certificates for their conservation practices by Cape & Islands Green and by Tripadvisor.  What does this mean?  It means that we were accredited after taking courses in conservation and recycling, and we were assessed on our energy saving practices. In Massachusetts, as well as in other states, Cape Light Compact or another similar organization provides a free energy audit, discounts on converting to energy saving products, and recommendations on how to save money.  We are in the paper and print business and try to reuse material and minimize waste.  One program that we implemented with our excess framing supplies, for example, was the donation of materials to local schools'  art departments.

If you are happy with our products and services, would you consider reviewing us online, either on Tripadvisor or Yelp?  In a seasonal location like Cape Cod, the best way to grow our business is through referrals, and positive reviews are very helpful in attracting new customers.  We thank the many customers who have already taken the time to review us and have provided such positive feedback.
  
This year, our business has grown by 24% and we greatly appreciate all of our diverse customers.  Our business comes from retail customers, online Internet sales, and custom work with the general public, decorators, and businesses.  When we acquired Maps of Antiquity in 2006, we were not sure if it would generate enough business to support a husband and wife team.  We currently have seven full and part time employees who support both Maps of Antiquity and Chatham Guest Rooms.  Additionally, we work with a terrific group of contracted associates.  We are grateful to work at something we love, and to be able to share our interest with you.
 
We wish you a terrific New Year!
Bob Zaremba & Danielle Jeanloz
Maps of Antiquity | | bob@mapsofantiquity.com | 1409 Main Street
Chatham, Cape Cod, MA 02633

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