Rand McNally is one of the world's foremost publishers of maps, atlases and globes. The company was founded by Chicago printers William Rand and Andrew McNally and produced its first map in 1872 for its Railroad Guide. The Business Atlas followed four years later. Rand McNally made its first globe in 1880 and first road map in 1904. Early maps and globes are prized by collectors.

Read the article "Interpreting Rand Codes," by Jeff Koenker, on the Road Map Collectors Association website.

Look at the very bottom of the map for either a letter or an alpha-numeric code. It is generally found in either the bottom left or bottom right corner, and is sometimes hidden in the map itself, rather than in the border. On globes, it is generally found with the Rand McNally name and copyright notice.

Interpret the code, and double-check by referring to the "Dating Rand and Gousha Maps" table on the Road Map Collectors Association website.

For extra verification, visit the Virtual Antique Map Fair website at http://www.antiquemaps-fair.com and consult a dealer who specializes in antique maps and globes.

Contact a dealer and send him a photo of your Rand McNally map or globe. Most dealers are happy to help.