Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00

Collecting Antique Maps

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Written by Richard Danz

I have to say that the best selling item at my store at Renninger's, in Adamstown, PA is antique maps. For the purposes of this article, any map 100 years or older is considered antique.


I have a wide range of maps that go as far back as 1646. These maps include township maps
from Lancaster, Berks, Chester, and Delaware counties, covering the years 1864, and 1875.
The maps are hand-colored and come in a wide array of colors. The hand-colored aspect is
due to the fact that color lithography was not readily available. Interestingly, when you look
at these maps closely, you can see where the artist colored outside the lines at times.
The 1875 Atlas of Lancaster County, which some of the maps came from, is of particular
interest, not only for the maps, but also for the engravings contained therein that depicted
the farms, homes, and businesses that flourished at that time.
The 1875 atlas also provides the Lancaster County History from its inception in the early
1700's to 1875. The history provides vivid descriptions of dealings with the Conestoga
Indians, and less than admirable instances of their mistreatment. The infamous Paxton Boys
incident is described in detail. I recently published a book titled, " 1875 History of
Lancaster County", which is a reprint of the history contained in the atlas. It is very
interesting reading.
The value of antique maps varies depending on their historical significance and condition.
While the maps described above are of local interest, their value is minimal, usually
commanding a price of $25.00 to $30.00 dollars.
My collection of Philadelphia maps, that date back to 1753, are much more valuable.
The 1753 Scull & Heap map of Philadelphia, published in Gentleman's Magazine, London, in
August 1753, is perhaps the most famous map of Philadelphia.
As the first edition of the map, separately issued in Philadelphia, is very rare, the
Gentleman's Magazine edition is the first generally available version of this important map.
When first issued, this map was intended to promote William Penn's new city on the
Delaware. When the events of the American Revolution began to heat up, illustrations of the
center of the revolt, Philadelphia, began to be in great demand in Europe. This demand was
soon met by publishers in England, Germany and France with the reissue of the Scull and
Heap map, still the most up-to-date cartographic treatment of Philadelphia then available.
The description provided above illustrates the importance of historical significance in
determining the value of a map. There are several websites that provide information on
antique maps, including, and
As you can see, collecting antique maps is enjoyable and a great investment. Their value
will increase and you will have a wonderful conversation piece.
Richard Danz

Renninger's Adamstown Antiques Market D-14

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