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The Rocky Mountain
Map Society

The 1st Annual Rocky Mountain Antique Map Fair *

If you host it, they will come. The organizers of the First Annual Rocky Mountain Antique Map Fair may be forgiven if they now believe that, in the spirit of the popular baseball movie Field of Dreams, dreams can come true. Judging from the reaction of the map dealers who came to exhibit their wares and the visitors who came to look and buy, the event, held on 6 October 2001 in Denver, Colorado, and co-hosted by the Rocky Mountain Map Society ( RMMS ) and the Denver Public Library, was an unqualified success.

RMMS member, Myron West, accepted the daunting task of organizing the fair. He could depend upon a large number of RMMS volunteers to facilitate planning and execution.

Thirteen prominent dealers, mostly from across the United States but also from Canada, and Europe committed to join the fair. And, as a delightful enhancement, the Library of Congress agreed to sponsor an informative exhibit of materials and services from its Geography and Map Division.

On the day of the fair, 350 paying visitors registered at the door, and over a seven-hour period a steady stream of map enthusiasts moved thru the well-designed exhibit area. The exhibiting dealers and the RMMS were immensely gratified and even a little overwhelmed by the turnout. The visitors, mostly local but also from throughout the United States, ranged from novice to expert and took full advantage of the opportunity to examine more that 10,000 cartographic items. Sales of regional materials were specially brisk, but there was also significant interest in every type and age of map on display. Harry Newman of the Old Print Shop in New York City commented that he sold "a pile" of the mapping of America pieces.

"Please do this again next year," one visitor commented as the fair wound down late in the afternoon. And even if some of the dealers committed to the event with some trepidation, they left eager to return in 2002. Barry Ruderman of Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps in La Jolla, California, said the event "could evolve into a serious map fair."

The main character in Field of Dreams heard voices. For the organizers of the First Annual Rocky Mountain Antique Map Fair, the voices they heard were real and supportive. Planning for the Second Annual Rocky Mountain Antique Map Fair, an improved and expanded version of this year's very successful inaugural event that is tentatively scheduled for September 2002, is already under way.

* Excerpts from the Mercator's World article Rocky Mountain High Spot, Jan./Feb.2002 issue, included by permission of Mercator's World.