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On the occasion of the transition to a new compiler and publisher, I have been asked to contribute a few biographical remarks.  After graduating from college, I began a career in scientific research, eventually rising to become one of the world's foremost authorities on bird droppings (see Discover magazine, May 1986, p.8-10).  Unfortunately, the market for that type of expertise is quite limited.  Casting about for something to do for a living that was more dependable and not too onerous, a map price record suggested itself, and with the help of a Radio Shack Model I computer, the Price Record was born.

I have found book publishing to be quite rewarding, and would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who have written with words of praise and encouragement.  It is always gratifying when one's books are actually used and not left to gather dust on some bookshelf.  My favorite example occurred when a library had been victimized by a stack thief who had cut maps from their British periodicals.  He was apprehended, along with a stack of loose maps.  The librarian thanked me for Maps of America in Periodicals before 1800, which had proven useful in returning maps to their rightful volumes.  I later checked my records and found that the thief had ordered a copy of the Price Record, presumably to pick which maps to steal.  I was quite pleased that my books were useful at both ends of this affair, and even considered advertising the Price Record as "the first choice of thieves," but decided not to push my luck.  As a word to the wise, I have received several requests for free copies of the Price Record over the years from inmates in state penitentiaries who said that they planned to go into "the antique business" when released.

Having published the Price Record for ten years, it is time for me to step aside and let a fresher mind take up the task.  It was not easy to find a successor with both map and computer expertise, but I have succeeded.  I am confident that Jon Rosenthal will continue the Price Record with distinction.

David C. Jolly,  July 1993
 


NEWS and COMMENT - 1993

The Antique Map Price Record & Handbook is alive and well.  The major event of 1993 was the transfer of operations from David Jolly to Kimmel Publications, with Jon K. Rosenthal continuing as compiler and editor.  We are gratified by the confidence in the new organization which David has expressed.

David Jolly was the Price Record.  It was his concept.  He drove it through from the idea to reality.  He did it by himself for ten years.  David set the standards.  His discipline and rigor were uncompromising.  It gives pause to a successor, at times bringing doubts as to whether the enterprise demands a mind set of a rare sort.  Fortunately, his procedures and patterns have become sufficiently well established to be capable of emulation.  The Price Record became an institution in David's hands.

David Jolly initiated the Price Record in the Dark Ages of personal computing.  The first three editions were the product of a Tandy Radio Shack Model I running at 1.774 megahertz decked out with 48K of memory and no hard disk.  From 1986 to 1991 he used another Tandy, the 2000 with a 80186 chip which came and went with a legacy similar to that of the 1936 Chrysler Air-Flow.  Clearly, David Jolly went modern with his 386/25 Northgate for the '92 edition.  But that's only part of the story.  In the old days, software was primitive.  His answer was to write his own.  Some of it came with the transfer; we've adapted it to off-the-shelf software with which we are familiar.  With the advent of the laser printer, the clickety-clack of the old dot-matrix was replaced with the 1985 edition.

Lest one misunderstand David's persona, it is only necessary to look over his own News and Comment sections over the years.  Along with his dry, incisive wit, there is always an impatience with foolishness, whether the source were a certain bureaucratic establishment on which we all depend for delivery of the Price Record or the demoralizing and debilitating consequences of totalitarianism.  We can confirm David's expertise on bird droppings and place his contribution into the context of ornithologically induced electrical outages.  At last report he was headed back into the library, pushing forward on another of the cartobibliographies for which he is justly famous.

Changes This Year

The form of the Price Record has changed somewhat; the substance is unaltered.  The title has been streamlined to Antique Map Price Record & Handbook.  Nevertheless, it still includes sea charts, city views, celestial charts and battle plans.  In fact, it now includes globes as well.

The sequence of sections has been changed, some have been consolidated, some have new titles and a couple have been omitted.  For example, "News and Comments" has been moved forward.  Since most of the "References Cited" are also recommended, they have been grouped together under "Recommended References".  For the new arrangement, see "Contents".

A few thematic categories have been established in the "Price Listing."  One is Railroad Company Maps, a new heading for maps showing the routes or proposed plans of particular railways.  The reason for the change is to halt the proliferation of listings under individual lines and bring such comparable items under a single umbrella.  Local and State Government Maps is another category intended to collect items published for governmental units below the national level, and infrequently offered for the same jurisdiction.  A third new heading is Real Estate and Promotional Maps, a catch-all for an increasing number of like items seldom offered by the same enterprise or publisher.  Finally, there has been a slight break with the past in providing first names or initials for some map-makers with the same surname, say, Morse, if it is helpful to make a distinction.

Dimensions in the "Price Listing" are now rounded to the nearest centimeter and the nearest half-inch.  This degree of significance brings metric and English units into comparable levels of precision and avoids the illusion of greater accuracy which cannot be confirmed with confidence.

Statements of condition, previously limited to a summary of reported flaws, have been enlarged to include a brief positive word, if provided.  It is done with some trepidation, however, since the buyer must determine for himself the meaning that each dealer gives to words such as excellent, fine, very good, good, fair and so forth.  Even then, the term "excellent map" is fraught with ambiguity; does it mean "significant map" or "excellent condition".  The time has probably arrived to establish some conventions about the condition of antique maps which can be widely underwritten.

Provision of a "Cumulative Frequency Distribution of Map-Makers" is an entirely new feature which will make it easy to find where particular map-makers appear in the "Price Listings" of all eleven volumes.  Look for a name in the table and it will tell how many entries appeared in each year.  Its a cinch!

United States dealers are cross-referenced by city and state.  The itinerant dealer or collector can plan a rational trip, hopping from source to source.  Best to phone ahead.

"Frequent Questions About This Book" may remain, even though the section has been eliminated to economize on space.  We still make an effort to sample a wide range by including North American and European dealers, expensive and inexpensive maps, and well-known and smaller dealers so that the reader may draw his own conclusions.  The Price Record is not advertising in disguise; instead, dealers whose catalogues are used receive a free copy of the book.  Slightly different titles may still appear because the editor can not be certain that the dealer is not offering a little known variant.  David Jolly's protocol of including initial fragments of names, such as de, van or von, has been continued.  The customer list is confidential and is not divulged to any third part.  Purchasers of the book from the publisher may expect to receive announcements of future editions of the price record.

Catalogues are rolling in for inclusion in Volume 12 in 1994.  We are aiming for a publication date in late Spring.  Dealers should submit their catalogues by December 31, 1993.  In the preparation of catalogues, we suggest referral to "Dealers' Concerns" (Page 47).  In the next volume we will make a special effort to include reference citations when provided by the dealer or if we can be certain of them ourselves.

Name Change News

Intra-national realignments continue to plague the "Geographical Index".  David Jolly never did recognize the U.S.S.R. as a category for antique maps, so we were spared the need to include the C.I.S. (Commonwealth of Independent States, was it?) for even a year.  But can we be sure where Russia ends and Ukraine begins.  Should we use Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan or is it best to stick with Tartary?  Fortunately, relative peace has prevailed in the former Soviet Union.  Not so with Yugoslavia.  We are horrified by the inhumanity which is exhibited!  The world has barely had time to recall in Yugoslavia the names of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia before beginning to worry about borders that will probably change within a year.  Give Peace a Chance!

Jon K. Rosenthal
Appeared in Volume 11 (1993).
 

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News and Comments - Index

 
 
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