Old carte-à-figures map by John Speed

A map lover with 40 years of pure map passion

Our vocation is not just about selling items. It is about “living maps” or “passing and sharing our knowledge”. It is about our way to live maps and to share our knowledge.

Our map passion

Antique maps are fine and rare objects. Is it science or art? Maps picture our history on paper, through times of war and peace, at land and at sea. They mirror how we lived over the last centuries. Some of them are highly decorative, while others may be more interesting as newly discovered lands are pictured.

A shared crush?

Everybody loves an old map: out of pure passion, personal home town, work relations, out of family connections or just for historical feelings?

Your personal happiness can be found in an ordinary map as well as in a very rare piece. This may be a one-of-a-kind item, a document in first state or first edition, a view of historical significance or fame, or just a piece art excelling through its outstanding beauty or decorative value.

Our road

CartaHistorica is a newcomer on the commercial market. However, we live this map passion since 45 years. Our dream started in the mid ‘70ies when we realized that cartography is at the crossroads of geography and history. Which history can one read out of a map? Hence forward, a private assortment was slowly built up. Map quality and only map quality always stood central in this built-up. There was no pressure: the collection was built up with the utmost care. Time pressure was never there; we only bought maps of the highest possible standard. All maps purchased in tempo non suspectu were identically framed.

But, there is more: maps were not just bought. Each new map was carefully studied and reported on. Unconsciously, the mapmakers of our homeland, the Benelux, drew our attention. So, Ortelius, Hogenberg, van Keulen, the family Blaeu and the dynasty Hondius instinctively took a prime position. The focus of this large collection became “the Flemish and Dutch cartography between 1500 and 1700”. Accidentally, our personal interest coincided with the pivotal contribution of our ancestors to this cultural expression. But, there is much more to discover in this era: , we also open up an arsenal of maps and views of the VOC, on the Dutch war of independence, and on Michiel de Ruyter…even on Ortelius’ views of the Antiquity. However, you may also be interested in certain exotic maps: how about fantastic end 18th century Optica views? Or some portraits and titlepages or amazing Celestial maps. Finally, some maps and view discovering China and Japan?

Recent developments

In the meantime we published numerous articles and book reviews. In the academic world we are probably most acknowledged for our three significant studies on van Adrichem, Wytfliet and Martini in several map journals. A few seminars on these masters quickly followed.

Since at least 1995 we structurally studied “the Flemish and Dutch cartographers 1500 – 1700” with respect to their local, European and worldwide output. Thus more recently, we organized three exhibitions under this main subject with the following subtitles: “The Glorious Netherlands” (2016), “Europe Revisited” (2017) and “The Dutch color the World” (2018). Each time, a detailed catalog (in Dutch only), explained the general historical framework and all the individual maps. Catalogs of these three exhibitions are still for sale with us.

Getting into business

This exquisite collection, built up over several decades, is now open for sale. Our benchmarks were, are and always will be top quality and expertise. And we keep on searching for the most rare and extraordinary maps of your collection. However we only purchase and sell original maps, mostly in original old colors. We never sell reproductions. We gladly provide certificates of authenticity. Of course, we are willing to look at any map offered for sale to us.

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