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Vintage National Geographic Collection

National Geographic: a reputation for quality through the years

Go old school this season and get vintage National Geographic gifts at

Shelly Cone, November 20, 2013
Through iconic images and accurate detail National Geographic has brought the world to the average reader with its magazine, and with its maps it has put that world into perspective.

National Geographic has cultivated a reputation for quality maps with stunning details. Because of this they are just as often used for décor as they are as a resource tool. But whether they are hanging in a frame on an office wall or folded in a drawer, they possess a quality that has lasted through the decades. Perhaps they've endured because the techniques used to make the maps have evolved over the years, but it's just as possible it's the attention to detail expressed by National Geographic cartographers.

Mapmaking has changed through the years. In the early days National Geographic map makers were each assigned to work on just a certain portion of the map. So the cartographers only really needed to be experts in that one area. These days cartographers need to have knowledge of a variety of subjects. Cartographers need knowledge of subjects as diverse as applied linguistics and astronomy to hydrology and economics. Regardless of how much a cartographer knows about a subject one thing is for sure, accuracy is highly stressed. National Geographic is so accurate that they often portray all the common things that you look fro as well as some of the more unique or lesser-known place names. In fact, on one of their maps cartographers made sure to include Welsh place names as well as Manx place names from the Isle of Man. They even insisted on including the interesting Welsh place name of:


Sometimes National Geographic maps also explore the what if, as do their maps that show the current world should all ice on land melt and drain into the sea (seas would rise 216 feet and the average world temp would be 80 degrees by the way).

Other times they bring to life world's we've only imagined as with the Shakespeare's Britain Map from 1964. The map was based on John Speed's map, "the Kingdome of Great Britaine" from this 1611 atlas "Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine."

With a dedicated force of cartographers committed to combining beauty and accuracy it's no wonder National Geographic maps have enjoyed a long history in the hearts of map collectors and vintage lovers everywhere.
National Geographic Top Of The World Map 1949

On Top of the World

When the National Geographic Top Of The World Map 1949 was first released it was released along with articles relating to polar exploration. This map features a top of the world view with the North Polar region at its center. More than that though, it also features descriptions of polar expeditions by Peary, Byrd, Ellsworth, Amundsen, Nobile, and Schmidt.
Earth's Moon Map 1969

Many Moons Ago

Know someone who has their sites set on the moon? Get them the educational Earth's Moon Map 1969 by National Geographic and let them delve into detailed illustrations of both the near and far sides of the moon. Released in February of 1969 this map highlights the physical properties and features of the moon, its phases, and provides information and illustrations about the Apollo mission. It even has a profile of a crater showing Copernicus, an average moon crater, in comparison to the Grand Canyon.
Shakespeare's Britain Map 1964

Set the Stage

If all the world's a stage, then there is no where that is truer than in Shakespeare's Britain. Any vintage National Geographic fan—especially if they are also a fan of theatre—would love to get their hands on the Shakespeare's Britain Map 1964. Based on John Speed's map "the Kingdome of Great Britaine" from his 1611 atlas "Theatre of the Empire of Great Britaine" this map was published in 1964. It shows settings of plays and various points of interest throughout England, Wales and Scotland.
Jerusalem: The Old City Map 1996

For the Historian

It's not the world of the Bard but it definitely is another place with historical significance. For history buffs, you can't get much more historical than a map featuring the city of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem: The Old City Map 1996 reflects the beauty of vintage National Geographic maps as well as history.
World Map 1941

Old World Charm

Put the world in the hand of someone on your gift list with the World Map 1941. This vintage National Geographic gift is a classic. It's one of the last maps published before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. With classic colorization to show the country borders and relief shading and thousands of place names and country capitals this map makes a great gift for the vintage National Geographic map collector.
World Map 1970

Visually Stunning

Of course the 1941 world map is only part of the story (after all a few things have changed since then). The World Map 1970 features stunning color and detailed geographical information that reflects the decade of its release with the reliable National Geographic cartography.
National Geographic North America Executive Wall Map

One Continent at a Time

Or maybe you just want to focus on one continent at a time. Give the National Geographic North America Executive Wall Map to the vintage National Geographic fan this Christmas and offer a fresh, old perspective on the continent. This antique-style map offers extensive political information with political boundaries and beautiful shading to show physical terrain. It even marks oil fields, railroads and ruins.

Other than the Top of the World map one of the best ways to see the world is to fly above it. That's what many a brave pilot did in 1903 in order to map out routes for ocean travel and trade boats. (Hey, not everyone was ready to fly in 1903.) The result was the Pilot Chart Of The North Atlantic Ocean Map 1903.

Appearing in National Geographic Magazine in February 1903, this map contains recommended routes for steamships, branch hydrographic offices, and a wealth of information about weather patterns over the ocean including storm and gale signals, cyclonic storm tracks, fog reports and more. If you want a truly unique gift for your vintage National Geographic fan, this map is it.

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