Collecting Vintage Maps

pre Alaska Statehood Map of US

pre Alaska Statehood Map of US

On Saturday I’ll be listing a vintage map of the US which is pre-Alaska Statehood. It is a folded map from an encyclopedia. I did a search of advice on collecting maps and was struck by this advice from Observatory Books on the best ways to preserve old maps. Your maps are historic documents that can never be made again. They deserve archival attention.

  • If you have a map framed, be sure the framer understands the needs of old paper. Everything that touches the map must be acid-free. We have found that many framers offer acid-free handling, and the cost is generally little or no more.
  • The matting must be conservation or museum quality. It’s best to double- or triple-mat an old map, so that the map is certain not to touch the glass. If the map touches glass, eventually it will bond to the glass. Make sure the hinges, the little holders that keep the map from sliding in the frame, are also acid-free.
  • The glass should be plain or plexiglass. Nonglare glass will blur the details that make an old engraving enchanting.
  • Choose any frame you like. Ordinarily, we find that a plain, dark frame sets off these treasures best. Remove the backing every ten years or so and check for insects, which particularly favor the glue in the corners of a frame.
  • Select a place to hang your map as you would place a piano: on an inside wall, where the humidity isn’t extreme, and where the sun never shines on it directly.
  • If your map won’t be framed for a while (or ever), store it in a Mylar sandwich, or anywhere else that is dry, dark, and clean.
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