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Map History

Cartographic Fakes, Forgeries
and Facsimiles likely to deceive

(including both confirmed and suspected items)

  • INDEX to known fakes, forgeries and deceptive facsimiles (a Microsoft Office Word 2003 table that opens separately)
  • How to tell a fake or forgery
  • Notes on selected maps
  • Bibliography

  • Mounted on the web 28 January 2008 - additions and corrections are noted on the individual entries

    The centrepiece of these pages is the Index table. This lists all the cartographic deceptions that have been identified so far. The majority of items - mostly maps but also globes and other artefacts - appear only in this Index. However, the Index's 'Reference' column, which usually lists one of the better-known bibliographical works, or a special study on that item, can lead you to a full description. Alternatively, by clicking on the '&' symbol in the Index's left-hand column you are led to a note on that particular entry.

    Besides those, there are notes about the characteristics of (mostly) forged versions of printed maps, and a Bibliography.

    These pages should be considered as a dynamic 'work in progress'. Their main purpose is to alert anyone who buys or studies early maps to the existence of these cartographic deceptions. More will certainly appear in future, and absence from this listing should not be taken to mean that the map you are looking at is definitely 'safe'.

    It is hoped that the page 'How to tell a fake or forgery' (combined with your own trained eyes) will help to avoid the disappointments that result from buying, in good faith, what turns out to be historically false and commercially almost worthless.

    Please DO send corrections and additions to the editor Tony Campbell:  

    These pages have been in preparation for a long time, since the idea was first proposed to the MapHist list in August 2005. That message was an appeal for a volunteer to undertake the detailed work, an appeal repeated (unsuccessfully) more than once subsequently.

    The original plan, which could still be realised, was for catalogue entries to be prepared for each item, with, wherever possible, illustrations. Without the requested assistance, this could not be done.

    This listing of cartographic deceptions owes much to the members of the MapHist list. Several of their messages are cited and a number of members provided additional information privately. I would like to thank the following in particular: David Allen, Peter Barnes, Marcel van den Broecke, Philip Burden, Ed Dahl, Peter van der Krogt, Don McGuirk, Frank Manasek, Benjamin Olshin, Dorothy Prescott, Kirsten Seaver, Rodney Shirley and Daan Strebe.

    If there had been practical support for the original plan, John Woram's contribution would have been more obvious. He was to handle the complex technical side, with a concentration on illustrations. The lack of these, and especially those that would have showed the forgeries in magnified detail, seriously reduces the value of these pages. Just what might have been can be seen from the imagination and ingenuity he brought to bear on the intriguing Albarel map (a hybrid fake/forgery). However, these pages will never be 'finished' and, if scans are offered, they could be incorporated in future.

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