Swaen HiBCoR Grading

In order to have our clients better understand the importance and condition of an item, we use the
H!BCoR Map Grading System
In a nutshell, four key items determine a map's value: historical importance, beauty, condition and rarity
Once you have added the five values our system automatically grades a map on a scale of 1 to 10.
As a result, an extremely rare map in poor condition still grades higher than a common map in very good condition.

Read all about H!BCor grading [+]

H!BCoR***  grades the maps as follows:

  Historical significance

As to a map's historical significance, the potential collector wants to determine if the map in question is a "breakthrough map," as Manasek wrote in Mercator's World. He notes that this can be answered by asking: "Was it made by an important mapmaker? Does it show, for the first time, a radically different or improved image?
Is it linked to political events, essentially a cartopolitical statement of significance?"

Historical importance

  Key map
  Very important
  Direct derived
  50 years after first publication
  more than 100 years after first publication



With respect to a map's "beauty"--"Was the mapmaker talented? Did he make a beautiful map, with beautiful baroque, rococo, mannerist or Renaissance cartouches [or] designs? How well is the map engraved? How good is the calligraphy on the map? Is it good to look at?"

  Very decorative
  Not so decorative
  Not artistic at all



The condition of an antique map affects its value, but given the fact that they are printed on such a fragile medium as paper, sometimes the mere fact that they still exist is amazing. The condition is always very important, but how important it depends on several factors.

The following  imperfections should be mentioned in the condition report:

Color Oxidization w/o damage
Color Oxidization w/damage or loss of paper.
Paper Toned / Acidified
Tears in Margin
Tears in Printed Image
Foxing in Margins
Foxing in Printed Image
Fold Split in Margin
Fold Split in Printed Image
Marginal Soiling
Soiling within image
Color Retouched
Worm Holes
Loss of Printed Image
Restoration to Margins
Restoration/Facsimile within printed image
Other Damage (should be explained)
Other Loss of Image (should be explained)

Coloring An antique map with gorgeous original color will generally sell for more than an uncolored example, a recently colored example, or a poorly colored example of the same map. All reputable dealers can distinguish between old and modern colors in almost all cases and they note if a map is in original or recent colors.

HiBCoR uses the following color key :
Original color = Item has been colored at the time of publication.
Later color = Item has been colored at the time of publication.
Colored = The colors have been applied in the 20th century or later.
Original out-line colors = Map has only border colors and is applied during publication.
Original full-body color = Map has full-body color, typically used during the 18th century by publishers like Homann, Seutter, Lotter, etc. Typically cartouches are left uncolored. If a cartouche has recent color addition, this needs to be indicated (Cartouche with later color addition).


Note all repairs of a flaw, a small tear, a wormhole, minor staining or foxing, a narrow margin in the condition report. Fo the HiBCoR rating select one of the following options.

  Mint - If colored strictly original colors. No tears, dark impression, full margins.
  Very fine  - If colored recently or touched up colors. No tears, dark impression, full margins, if colored strictly original colors.
  Fair -
  Poor; Sold as is.  - Poor condition, browning, staining, tears.



How rare is the map, and how often did it appear on the market? 


An exceptionally rare and important map. Only a few examples are known and these are usually in institutional libraries.
Very rare. Only several examples are known in private and public collections. Hardly available in the open market.
Rare. A map which is rarely offered by dealers or obtained at auction.
Scarce. A map which is very infrequently available in the open market. Such maps are offered by dealers or auction houses, perhaps once every 1-3 years a copy turns up.
Uncommon. A map that is infrequently available in the open market. Typically maps from the 16-18th century, maps from atlases published by Ortelius, Blaeu, Hondius, Visscher, Speed.
Common. Freely available in the open market. Printed in large quantities. Often steel engravings from the 19th century.