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  A Guide to Condition Problems  


The condition of an antique map is one of the most important factors in determining its desirability and therefore its value. It is also one of the most misunderstood and subjective aspects for both dealers and collectors. Minor flaws that are relatively insignificant, or can easily be repaired, will have a minimal effect on value. On the other hand, serious problems including irregular tears, loss of image and unsightly stains will greatly affect the quality and price. Condition is always more important when a piece is relatively common, and less significant if the map is rare.

Unfortunately, there is not a standard method of describing condition within the market. Therefore, one dealer's 'fine' might be another dealer's 'very good', making comparisons difficult. Novice collectors and generalist antique dealers often make the mistake of thinking that a stained or damaged map is "in good condition, considering its age". While it may be true that it is remarkable that a piece of paper, hundreds of years old, has survived at all, there are some types of damage that render the map beyond repair and therefore substantially reduce its value.

There are a number of specific problems that may affect antique maps and it is important to understand their causes and possible remedies. The following information will be helpful in recognizing these problems and how these factors influence value.


This is a nice way of describing paper that is acidic. Toning results from paper being exposed to an acidic environment or in some cases ...

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