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Jun 23, 2008

Map Collecting: The Next Big Thing?

Paper maps. Who needs 'em? Well apparently as physical maps are increasingly replaced by digital versions the old ones are becoming more collectible. Express India recently ran a story on the growing interest in antique maps among collectors in that country:

It is the fun of tracing unknown routes that draws people towards this shop,” says [Kapil Dev] Aryan, who opened the shop in 2000 and has seen business expand in the past couple of years. While Indians are keen on world maps, foreigners knock on the door of the small shop for old maps of India.

Sanjay Jain of RS Books and Prints, South Extension, that is famous for its collection of antique maps, says, “The love for maps is connected to the sense of discovery. It’s a real pleasure, for instance, to peruse a rare 18th century plan of the city you live in.” Getting your hands on a 16th or 17th century map is difficult, and even a small map costs Rs 5,000-10,000, [$117-$233] while 18th and 19th century maps cost at least Rs 2,000-5,000. [$47-$117]

Now, the clientele comprises ambassadors, embassy officials, researchers, scholars and avid collectors who are kept in the loop whenever the dealer chances upon a new find. “And some of these guys drive a really hard bargain,” smiles Aryan.

See also: Japanese Take Big Interest in Historic Maps.

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