Catawiki's cartography auctions are your entry into the world of fine map collections. We auction interesting and attractive maps, views and atlases of premium quality that are hard to find and appealing to passionate collectors.
Potential buyers come to Catawiki looking for special and rare maps.
Our in-house experts select every piece for our auctions, ensuring they are of premium quality, display worthy and are presented in the best possible way.
We do this because we aim to keep our bidders excited, allowing them to find the pieces they’re interested in and ensure our sellers have great selling experiences.
Bidders on Catawiki look for scarce and interesting maps and atlases that are hard to find.
For our auctions, we seek and select maps, atlases and engraved views* of any age that are:
- scarce, with limited availability in bookshops or online map retailers (with platforms like vialibri.net as reference)
- of interest to collectors usually because they include one or more of the following:
- fine and scarce maps
- quality illustrations or engravings
- early printings or important geographical developments
- hand coloured or quality lithographs
- comprehensive information
- in at least good condition
- worth an estimated minimum value of €75 to ensure the overall attractiveness of the auctions
*a ‘view’ is an engraving of a geographical location or city
1. Proven premium material quality
Scarce, collectable maps and atlases
We seek books, maps, atlases and views that are rare and unlikely to be found in regular bookshops or on retail websites. They are only available in very limited numbers and are scarce enough to be sought out.
|An item with very few copies available is more likely to be of high value and to be attractive to buyers.|
We encourage you to use free reference platforms to determine the scarcity and retail value, e.g. https://www.maprecord.com/AntiqueMapPriceRecord.html or http://www.oldmaps.com/default.asp. We also use rarebookhub.com to compare historical auction records.
An item with more than 20 copies available or an average retail value under €60 is not suitable for our dedicated auctions.
What we need
- To be of interest to collectors and suitable for our auctions, all cartography lots needs to be authentic, and at least uncommon.
- The print, engraving, map or view needs to be a good clean impression.
- The condition should be of high quality. Hand coloured illustrations are most popular.
- Atlases should be complete and the contents should be in at least reasonable condition.
- A collection of reference works should be on a similar subject to make an interesting group.
- Maps, prints, views and atlases produced after 1900 are less likely to be of interest.
Significant geographical changes or anomalies can make a map popular. For example, when California was first represented as being part of the mainland rather than an island.
Facsimiles and cartographic objects
Some of our bidders are also looking for facsimiles of maps that are very rare or expensive.
- A facsimile is a recent accurate copy of an early work (it will look the same - not just a modern version).
- Facsimiles must be high quality reproductions of scarce and important maps.
- A reprint of an ordinary atlas is not a facsimile.
- Cartographic objects can also be interesting to collectors.
2. In demand and to avoid
Subjects that are particularly in demand
Subjects that are typically of interest to collectors are:
Subjects to avoid
Subjects that are not of interest include:
- post-1900 mass produced atlases
- small-scale mass produced facsimiles
- tourist maps and street guides
These are readily available and not of interest to our bidders.
Condition is of utmost importance
Usually, the newer the atlas, the better the condition must be. An atlas published recently needs to be near perfect.
Please make sure that you mention all flaws and also include photographs clearly showing any flaws. This helps to avoid buyer returns.
- Excellent condition: Slight traces of wear, only outside the map image.
- Good condition: Slight traces of wear such as spots and tiny tears on the map.
- Reasonable condition: Traces of wear and damage to the map.
- Poor condition: The map is incomplete.
- As new: In the same condition as when it was published.
- Fine: Approaches the condition of ‘As new’, but without being crisp. The atlas may have been opened and read, but there are no defects to the atlas, jacket or pages.
- Very good: Shows some small, insignificant signs of wear and tear on either the binding or paper.
- Good: The average used worn atlas that has all pages or leaves present.
- Fair: A worn atlas that has complete text pages but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc. (which must be noted). Binding, jacket (if any), etc., may also be worn.
- Poor: Sufficiently worn. Any missing maps or plates should still be noted. This copy may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.
Register as a seller to begin selling your maps on Catawiki, then start offer up your objects for auction right away.