A COLLECTION of antique maps of Dorset is going under the hammer in Dorchester this week.

Poole resident Edward Gillis collected over 150 maps of the county over a 40-year period from the earliest know printed map of Dorset, created by Christopher Saxton in the 16th century, to maps from the latter part of the Victorian era.

The unrivalled collection will now be going under the hammer at Duke’s Auctioneers on Friday, February 14.

The hand coloured Saxton map is described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the collection and was published in the first ever printed set of maps detailing the counties of England and Wales in 1579.

It is expected to sell for between £800 and £1,500 at the auction.

Other maps include those by William Kip, John Speed and John Bleau, as well as a rare map by Isaac Taylor from the 18th century that is expected to fetch between £600 and £800.

There will also be a number of lots to give people with a smaller budget the chance to secure a map of the county, with at least five estimated at under £100.

Duke’s auctioneer Matthew Denney said: “This is a magnificent collection, the perseverance and dedication required to amass so many different maps of Dorset is quite remarkable.

“The earliest map, the Saxton from 1575 is a magnificent map from a time when the county was a very different place, it is fascinating to see how many of the names and features are recorded accurately and the competence with which the map is drawn, from so many years ago, is quite staggering.”

He added: “We expect many different collectors and buyers of maps to attend the sale, there are many rarities, including a map of the county in the form of a playing card, and maps from different atlases produced over the last 300 years.

“I don’t think there can be many finer or more complete collections of maps of one county in existence and it will be fascinating to sell this collection.”

For more information contact Duke’s on 01305 265080 or email enquiries@dukes-auctions.com