Have you ever heard of the Sea of the West? It's just north of California & just south of the Northwest Passage, & it doesn't actually exist. Neither does the Northwest Passage. So... what are they doing on early maps of the area? The foolishness began in 1534 when Verrazano, an Italian navigator, mistook part of North Carolina's Outer Banks for the Pacific Ocean. Then a book published in 1625 by Samuel Purchas made matters worse by including the "testimony" of a Greek captain called Juan De Fuca who claimed to have explored the Sea of the West during the late 1500's. Finally, in 1708, a British magazine called Memoirs of the Curious published an account of the fantastical North Pacific voyage made 68 years prior by a Spanish admiral named Bartholemew de Fonte. There is no other record of this voyage. The intrepid explorer's existence is not corroborated by public records. But these pesky details did nothing to deter certain mapmakers who, for the next 50 years, published various maps showing non-existent waterways that had allegedly allowed a ship to sail clear across North America. Although the voyages of Cook & Vancouver had taken "La Mer de L'Ouest" decisively off of most maps by the 19th century, our 1803 A New Map of North America, agreeable to the Latest Discoveries., pictured abovestill shows the Entrance of Juan de Fuca & the River of the West. 

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Africa, by Anthony Finley, 1826
Celebrate April Fool's Day with one of our favorite cartographic failures. From the time of Ptolomy in ancient Greece right up until the 19th century, the source of Africa's Nile River was thought to be a mountain range bisecting much of the continent called The Mountains of the Moon. The only problem with this theory is that no such range exists. The idea was so prevalent, however, that it appears on maps as late as 1854. To see all of our Africa maps that show these mythical mountains, pop over to our new Mountains of the Moon board on Pinterest. Here again history proves that the popularity of an idea is no defense against it being downright foolish. 


Although popularly associated with their eventual settlement in Plymouth, our Pilgrim predescessors came to Cape Cod first! If their one winter here was as prolonged as the one we're evidently still weathering, we can't quite say we blame them for leaving.

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Celebrate Easter with one of our many maps of the "Holy Land". With pieces large and small, from ancient to more "modern" views, we offer cartographic treats to satisfy even the most sophisticated of Easter baskets!


Lengths of the Principal Rivers of the World. Heights of the Principal Mountains of the World. - 1853
Explore your alpine options with this colorful 1853 map by Mitchell/Cowperthwait, Desilver & Butler comparing the various heights of mountains, as well as the lengths of rivers.  Comparative maps are fun customer favorites, and many are available as antique OR reproduction pieces.

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Our Retail Shop

1409 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633 

Open Most Days Year-round. Hours: 
10am - 5pm Mon. to Sat.  and 12 - 5 pm Sundays. Extra hours are available by appointment.

Reach us at (508) 945-1660 or by email.

Best of Boston Home 2017 Winner Best Antiques on Cape Cod

Thank you so much to all of you, our wonderful customers, who made it possible for us to win Best Antiques on Cape Cod from Best of Boston Home® 2017!  

Check out our newest online tool- a virtual tour of the cozy and inviting interior of the shop!  



Our commitment to you: At Maps of Antiquity, we sell both antique maps and reproductions.  We guarantee that our antique maps are authentic antiques.  Our description for each item is designated as an antique or reproduction.  We also try to provide sorting options to allow you to look at antique maps only.  If this is your preference, select one of the yellow tabs on the left side of each page that includes the word, “antique”.

Left Menu Bar Index:

Yellow = Antique

Blue = Reproduction

Red = Other services, items or combined antiques and reproductions

A Vistaprint commercial features Maps of Antiquity owners, Bob Zaremba and Danielle Jeanloz.  

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Maps of Antiquity is located on Cape Cod
Generally open 10-5
Phone: 508-945-1660

1409 Main Street (Route 28)
Chatham, Massachusetts 02633