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Mapping Profits: Cartography and Fine Art Investment
CNBC.com | December 20, 2011 | 06:27 AM EST

Fine art buying has long been the province of wealthy connoisseurs and international collectors, keen on indulging their passion and untroubled by cost and potential profit.

The world of rare maps may also seem one in which only true specialists may concern themselves—particularly at the high prices items like these can command. But with a little know-how and perhaps a little more cash, the right purchase could bag you a real masterpiece—and most importantly, keep your money safe.

"Certainly in interesting financial times such as we are living in at the moment, people might wish to keep their cash in something that is perhaps a little more tangible," said Daniel Crouch, owner of Crouch Rare Books.

In the world of cartography, prices for some of the rarest and most sought-after maps—like those of famous cartographer William Blough—can reach into the millions. At that cost, why choose to invest in a map over other artworks?

Well, if you have to choose between a Monet and a map, it's clear the latter is less pricey. "I think it’s safe to say that within the art world in general, maps and atlases are comparatively inexpensive," said Crouch.

As with most investments of passion, a little knowledge and a real interest in the subject is probably best in order to make the best buys.

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