Business Overview

The vintage maps businesses is a niche market of collectibles, including old, historic, rare, unusual and one-of-a-kind maps. Some vintage maps business owners start out as hobbyists and then go on to establish galleries that house large collections of vintage maps.
Common types of vintage maps include star maps, antique railway and road strip maps, military battle maps and celestial maps. Geographical vintage maps cover all categories, such as archipelagos, world oceans and groups of islands.

Who is this business right for?

One of the keys to any successful business is to choose one that you’re passionate about. You should really have a love of history and heritage of old maps when considering opening a vintage maps store. There’s an awful lot to learn about antique maps, and it’s a business that is well suited for amateur collectors of maps. An amateur collector will have a base knowledge of different types of antiques maps, such as celestial maps and geological maps. An amateur collector will also have knowledge of how to price vintage maps, considering rarity, age, size, condition, historical importance and decorative value. It’s also important for a vintage maps store owner to know special requirements for framing and storing vintage maps.

What happens during a typical day at a vintage maps store?

Many vintage maps store owners spend their day buying and selling a variety of vintage maps. Most have connections with other map dealers and purchase their vintage maps or purchase vintage maps from individual sellers. Vintage maps store owners also inquire about other map businesses selling collections of maps of antiquity. Day-to-day activities usually include making phone calls to these resources, researching marketing opportunities, pricing inventory, and preparing orders for shipment. Some vintage maps store owners also provide map repair, map conservation and map restoration.

What is the target market?

The preferred client/customer types for vintage maps include collectors, decorators, and homeowners. Collectors are always on the hunt for that diamond in the rough. Decorators are always looking for interesting items to decorate homes and offices. Individual homeowners may feel a special connection to a part of the world—whether it is somewhere they have travelled, or the former home of their ancestors—and wish to have a map of that area in their home.

How does a vintage maps store make money?

Vintage maps store owners make money in a variety of ways. Some operate online stores, offering individual collectors the opportunity to sell their vintage maps on consignment on the website, and then splitting the profit according to a predetermined ratio.

Other store owners may purchase large collections from collectors and sell each vintage map individually to garner a greater profit.

What is the growth potential for a vintage maps store?

The growth potential for a vintage maps business is positive, as accessibility is shrinking. In addition, vintage maps store owners can add adjunct services, such as framing, cleaning and restoration.