Frequently Asked Questions
Our full terms and conditions can be seen here
Yes, with the exception of reference books, all of the items we offer for sale are original antique books, maps or prints published at least 100 years ago.
Yes, of course! We buy individual books, maps, atlases, and prints. We are also interested in globes and topographical drawings. We offer extremely competitive prices and pay promptly. We can pay in pounds, US dollars or euro, and, for higher value items, arrange collection anywhere in the world. We will not pay for books, maps or prints until we have examined them. If you wish to offer something to us for sale, please email us.
Yes, each item is fully described and carries our unconditional guarantee.
Yes. Please ask for one when placing your order.
Yes. For gallery hours, address and directions, please click here.
We accept the following:
• Cash (under £10,000)
• American Express
• Bank/Wire Transfer
• Cheques (GBP only, drawn on a UK Bank)
Yes. We are happy to offer free valuation of books, maps and prints that are brought to our shop during our regular business hours. We regret that we are not prepared to provide valuations by email.
For larger collections and written appraisals, we offer a formal appraisal service for £120 per hour, with a one-hour minimum. This will include a written valuation and a formal qualifications letter, which can be used for insurance, tax and estate purposes.
We pack and ship using Mail Boxes Etc. for most items or, for specialist packing or high value items, Art Logistics.
Books are sent wrapped in acid-free tissue, recycled bubble-wrap, and purpose-built recycled cardboard boxes. Maps and prints may be sent either flat, in bespoke packages, or in thick recycled cardboard tubes. If you have a packaging preference, please specify your choice at the time of shipping.
Sending by express service via Mail Boxes Etc., normal delivery times are:
US, UK and Europe: overnight
Africa: 2 business days +
Asia: 2-3 business days
Australia: 3-5 business days
Sending via Art Logistics, please contact us for an estimated delivery time.
Yes. All items we sell are shipped fully insured for the purchase price of the item. If an item does not arrive, you will receive a full refund. If a package arrives damaged, you will receive a full refund upon return of the item in question. For a complete description of our return policy, visit our Terms & Conditions page.
If you are not satisfied with a purchase for any reason, you may return the item within 7 days of receipt for a full refund (or purchase credit, if you prefer). For a complete description of our return policy, visit our Terms & Conditions page.
We recommend the following general guidelines: Mounting: Use archival, acid-free material only. The artwork should be tipped-in, or hinged, to the mat using a reversible archival tape or similar system. A map should never be glued, heat-mounted, pressure-mounted or taped flat to the backing board. Framing: We recommend glass or Plexiglas coated to protect against Ultra-Violet light.
Yes. We are happy to arrange bespoke book-binding, hand-made picture frames, and specialist conservation work for works of art on paper. We have good relationships with several local craftsmen and we are more than happy to discuss your requirements and make recommendations as to the most appropriate course of action for your work of art.
Many antique maps/books/prints include the date of publication, either in the title or where publication information is included. These dates often refer to the first year the book, map or print was offered for sale or the year the right to print the book, map or print was obtained. Such dates are not entirely reliable. Many books, maps and prints were issued for more than one year without changes. For these items, we need to look at the content of the item or other clues for more accurate dating. The dates we list are usually accurate to within 10 years. We make best efforts to use our available reference tools to accurately date each item we offer for sale. If you have concerns, please don't hesitate to ask.
Most maps and prints printed prior to 1870 were printed without colour, using black ink. However, many publishers added colour (typically watercolour, but occasionally gouache) shortly after printing and before the maps or prints were bound or mounted on linen for sale.
The following terminology is used to describe colour:
Colour added by the publisher from a known palette at the time of publication.
Colour added at, or around, the time of publication from a colourist other than publisher, typically using a palette different from that usually associated with the publication.
“Later”, “period”, “old”, “recent” colour
Colour added at some time between, say, ten years of publication and today. These phrases, if used, should specify an approximate date or period, and typically do not denote an item of greater value than one with modern colour.
Colour added recently, probably within the last 30 years.
We try to only offer books, maps and prints in original, or contemporary colour, or uncoloured. This is because we believe in selling material in as close to its original condition as possible.
We say “try” because, just like you, we are collectors at heart and, just occasionally, we abandon our principles for that “must have” item! In these rare instances, please rest assured that the item will be clearly described as such.
Value is a function of the desirability of subject matter, historical importance, condition, beauty, age, size and rarity. While there is no set formula, each of these factors plays a role in valuation.
Printed material, almost by definition, was produced in some quantity. In all but a few instances, any given printed item will have been offered for sale more than once over the years, meaning that there is the ability to evaluate prior sales as an indicator of value. In most instances, there are recent sales and current offerings which a dealer or collector can look to in order to provide guidance on valuation. We have an extensive database of historical pricing information, as well as auction and dealer catalogue records, going back over 100 years.
First, select one or two dealers with whom you like working with and don't be shy about asking questions. A dealer who compliments your interests, personality and enthusiasm will add to your enjoyment. Part of enjoying a collection is sharing the experience with people you like and who share your interests. Not all dealers are alike. No matter how large the dealer's inventory, all have special interests and strengths.
Second, focus on what interests you. It may take awhile, but most collectors develop collecting themes. Whether your theme is regional, historical, genealogical, or a artist or author, finding a theme that you like will help you to focus on creating a collection, not just buying stuff. Don't worry about getting locked down. Most collections evolve over time, so don't view this suggestion as restrictive, just a good starting point.
Third, buy a few good reference books. Even in the internet age, it is hard to build a collection when you don't know what is out there to collect. 50 years ago, there were very few good reference books. Now, there are books covering many general and specialty topics that will help provide context and a sense of what is out there to be collected. In choosing dealer relationships, working with someone who has a wide selection and knowledge in your area of interest also helps.
Fourth, if possible, join a collector's group. There are many societies throughout the world. Joining a group in your area or one that shares your collecting interest will introduce you to other people who share your interests and give you the opportunity to visit the best collections in your area or other parts of the world. For collectors who visit the Miami International Map Fair in February of each year, attend the New York book fair in April, or visit the London Map Fair at the R.G.S. in June, there are opportunities for both friendship, travel, guided access to major collections, interesting speaker topics and of course, buying maps and books!
Finally, don't be locked in to other people's ideas and lists of "must have" maps in your area of interest. For a true collector, the only thing more exciting than finding a map you have always wanted is discovering one you didn't know existed. If you constrain yourself to someone else's list, you are missing a chance to personalize your collection.
Many collectors fall into the trap of attaching importance to lists compiled by famous collectors or other list compilers. While lists and reference guides are marvellous tools, they are often subjective and reflect the tastes and biases of another collector, dealer or scholar. One of the exciting parts of collecting antique maps and atlases is that there are new discoveries being made every year, new maps uncovered and additional information being appreciated for the first time. Chart your own path, don't allow yourself to simply be led by others who collected before you.
"Unrecorded" maps still appear frequently on the market. There are new "discoveries" in the field of antique maps all the time. Many collectors are conducting their own pioneering studies within their collecting themes. The number of specialist map collecting books has grown exponentially in the past 20 years and will continue to do so. Finding an unrecorded map or identifying previously unrecorded or under-appreciated information on a map is one of the great joys of collecting. Some of the smallest and seemingly non-descript maps yield some of the most significant discoveries. There is a vast amount of scholarship yet unwritten and fascinating thematic studies yet to be conducted.
Wearing cotton gloves to hold or turn the pages of a book or manuscript actually reduces manual dexterity, and increases the likelihood of causing damage. - See more here