We only handle, sell & ship original vintage and antique items. Old sheets of paper, printed long ago. Items which are genuinely old, like we say. Not modern copies or modern reproductions. It's amazing how many people still ask us if an item we offer is really old & genuine. It is.
We strive to describe our items accurately. We understand you cannot see it in person. We are trying to present it accurately and convey condition correctly with careful digital photography, direct flat-bed scans of the item which are zoomable, precise printed sheet & image sizes and knowledgeable brief descriptive words.
It is important to understand & remember that many old printed paper items survive merely by chance, and all are somewhat unique if you inspect them closely. Few of the same type match exactly if compared side-by-side. Each has it's own characteristics, minor signs of age and "patina"- sometimes the differences are minor, other times quite noticable.
Individual pieces have typically seen numerous owners and been handled many times over the course of their existence. On old sheets of paper, short edge splits (which are often carefully repaired on the back with discrete small pieces of archival tape), light foxing, minor age discoloration, uneven blank margins, etc. are all things to expect. It's often unrealistic to expect an old sheet of paper to survive looking like new, perfect or without flaws. The key to any old printed sheet of paper is the overall visual appeal of the piece. Small normal signs of age do not distract but rather they often add to the overall visual character. If you want perfect, you should be buying modern reproductions. If you want interesting, collectible, old & genuine, this is our business.
Keep in mind when you receive your item that you are holding a genuine piece of printed graphic history, an old sheet of paper that was printed long ago and will, with some basic proper care, be around for a long time yet to come. In the meantime, you can visually enjoy it in your portfolio, hang it on your wall, give it as a present, etc.
We really do try to note any visually significant flaws in the description. Less noticeable, subtle or common minor age flaw characteristics may not be specifically mentioned, although often they are clearly visible within the zoomable scans or close-ups provided. Please look closely, do your research if needed, and ponder it before you click the buy-it button.
Virtually all old sheets of paper display some sort of visible age somewhere, and any attempt to capture every last one of them in words would just end in either mental or physical grid-lock and make the item sound far worse than it is. Short minor closed edge splits, uneven blank margins around the image (of no significance 99.9% time), obvious narrow margins, light typical scattered age spotting, inoffensive light dampstaining in blank margins, etc. are all often not commented upon, as they are mostly not worthy of specific mention. Rather, their presence is reflected in the overall grade of the item, which carries more weight. Plus, they are visible in the scan.
We do not use superlatives, we do not overgrade, misrepresent, or puff an item up to try to make it seem better than it is. Rather, we do the opposite. We grade conservatively since we want you to be pleased when it arrives. This is our commitment to you. This is part of the service we provide as dealers.
In an attempt to capture the essence of each item, we use a hand-full of simple clear grades. These range from: Fair (or lesser), Good / Good+, near VG to VG, VG+ / near Fine & Fine.
Fair means with some flaws as mentioned. It doesn't mean horrible nor ugly, bad, visually offensive, etc. Possibly not for gift-giving (unless the recipient understands old items), but entirely acceptable if the item is uncommon or scarce or you really like it. Many fine institutions around the world own old paper items in far worse condition than most of the items we sell, so Fair is better than a lot of old paper.
When we say "Good" or "Good+", it means basically "quite OK" ,"nice" and in our opinion "entirely acceptable for most people" in overall appearance. It does not mean stunningly excellent or virtually like new, nor does it imply lousy, defective, poor, etc. Those lesser conditions are either avoided in acquisition or clearly noted if offered, as are the higher grades.
Very Good to Very Good+ (VG & VG+) mean quite nice. It means that we would happily buy this item for our own collection and cannot fathom anyone being unhappy when they see it in person. But even still, if for some unfathomable reason you are unhappy, guess what? You can return it to us for a full refund! We'll promptly refund you and then simply relist the item so someone else can buy it. No problem or hassels.
"Near Fine" is used only sparingly, not thrown around lightly, and means approaching really excellent, probably nicer than most other surviving similar examples. Likely the item is not perfect, it likely posseses some minor trivial age-related flaws, or has minor blank margin issues, perhaps some light visible spotting, etc. But when you have it before you, it is clearly worthy of ownership, display, perhaps a museum or an advanced collection, etc. No need to upgrade at a later date.
These basic condition grading distinctions should be understood before you order from us. They reveal much about the item being offered. Please keep them in mind as you are considering any item. Please do not buy an item described as "Good+ to near VG" and then complain there are minor splits or age spots in the blank margins, or that the margins are uneven.
There are a few buyers who still who act surprised or get "upset" when they learn that many, if not most, old maps offered for sale come from atlases (like Mercator, Ortelius, Blaeu, Cluver, Stieler, and most loose old maps do, etc)... or that many (most) old prints were actually first issued within the confines of books (which today are now rare, expensive and widely sought after- for instance, Audubon, most 19th century color plate books, etc.). What is overlooked is that all of these maps & images were first conceived of as an individual artistic work intended to be printed one at a time. They were typically printed somewhere different that where the book was bound, meaning they were assembled & sent as loose sheets of paper prior to their inclusion into the book.
For the record, we never "break" fine copies of old books or atlases which are better preserved as objects. Their scarce market position & commensurate high prices most of the time no longer allow this to occur. Much of our inventory has been acquired either loose, in large batches, or from stray defective or poor condition odd volumes over the past 28+ years and we remain very active & strong buyers today.
Remember, you can return anything you buy from us without quibble for 30 days. How fair is that?
We are a U.S. based internet business. All of our measurements are in inches (not metric). If you need the size in Metric/ Centimeters please multiply the supplied inches measurement by 2.53.
Payment and Shipping
We happily accept PayPal!
Payment is appreciated within 5 days. Why buy something and then not pay for it? Please wait until you are ready to pay before you buy something.
Once payment has been received we do our best to make sure all orders are shipped within two business days and most often have them shipped within one. Sometimes, we ship within hours. Your order goes out promptly, protected, with basic tracking details and transit insurance!
We send a payment confirmation and a copy of the Paypal payment to the email address associated with your PP payment.
All orders are shipped well protected in sturdy tubes or flat white mailers (depending on size) via the U.S. Post Office. We NEVER fold unfolded items to fit into a mailer. If it arrives to you folded, that is how we acquired it and it's likely how it was issued.
Large items are far better sent rolled than flat. Large flat items are particularly susceptible to damge and require so much extra sturdy packing they become very heavy and cost a small fortune to ship. Our tubes will arrive undamaged, your items well protected in transit, within a plastic bag and ready for your inspection.
Please be aware that once we have shipped your order we no longer have any control over shipping time or delays. Some people appear to believe we control all aspects of global shipping on all parcels we send, but unfortunately this is not the case.
We are unable to ship to any address other than what appears on your PayPal Payment. Please be sure that this address is correct at the time of checkout. Please do not pay with one address, then email us to send it somewhere else. Sorry, can't and won't do it.
Once your order has been paid for we are, unfortunately, unable to "Hold it". We are required by eBay to ship within 2 business days of receiving payment and we typically ship much faster than that. This is part of how they rate sellers.
World Wide Flat Rate Shipping-
Please note- this shipping cost is obviously less than our true cost. No matter how many items you buy, for sure it will cost us more than we are charging. If the check-out system charges you too much for what-ever reason, just bring it to our attention--- we'll happily work with you to refund when we ship your item(s).
Important information for our International Buyers:
Import duties, taxes, and customs fees are not included in the item price or shipping cost. These charges are normally collected by the shipping service when the package is delivered or when you pick the item up. They are the buyer's responsibility and are not additional shipping charges. [Please understand they have nothing to do with us and we have no control over them].
We won't under-value merchandise or mark the item as a gift on customs forms. Doing so is against US and International law! Please don't ask. Any requests to do this will be ignored. All orders are labeled as merchandise and described as a printed old/ antique paper item. [again, please do not ask us to mis-represent International mail parcels].
First Class Mail is the least expensive shipping option available and as such is the slowest. In addition to this we have seen longer delays in customs in recent months-- it can take as much as 6-8 weeks to arrive.
Please be patient once we ship Internationally--your package will arrive, but it may take time. You can't be in a rush to receive an item if you live outside the U.S.A. International mail is efficient & 99.9% accurate, but it is not typically fast.
If you would prefer to upgrade your shipping to faster Priority options we are happy to send you an invoice. Our experience tells us Priority International post is often slower than First Class. It's backwards, and typically only makes sense if the parcel has value exceeding a certain level or extra security is desired.
Antiquemapsprints is a very active online business and has been dealing full-time in antique maps, decorative printed history and interesting old books for more than 28 years. The owner has been collecting & dealing in the field since he was a boy of 12 some 40 years ago and does both today. He now works with numerous assistants running an active on-line business.
We have always maintained a strong interest & stock in a wide range of antiquarian fields, which include [but are not limited to] specialties such as: cartography, philately, numismatics, printed geography & topography of the 17th -19th centuries, global ethnography, cultural & world-wide views of all sorts- especially fascinating or remote locations, 19th century chromolithographic printing, old & early wood or metal-plate engravings; rare, scarce and interesting books in numerous fields- including early American imprints & rare children's books (1750-1890's); old advertising graphics, travel ephemera, tobacco & fruit art, posters, old photographs, etc. We maintain a significant in-house reference library containing thousands of fine detailed monographs & bibliographies on all of the above topics and many more. Most of these scholarly works are thus far still unavailable online and this deep archive of information is consulted & read on a daily basis.
We are located in a fine large c.1820 house in the southern corner of beautiful historic New Hampshire; New England, United States. We are one hour north of Boston, an hour south of Portland, Maine.
We care about what we do and the quality of service we offer. We efficiently process & ship many hundreds of packages around the U.S. and the world every month. There are many days we ship over 50 packages and go months at a time without a loss or damage.
We try to offer as much information as possible in our listings. Because there are various people involved in cataloguing many hundreds of unique antique items every week, something is occasionally missed or overlooked. Remember, you can always return any item when you deal with us.
Also, because our inventory is spread out among 3 large buildings in different locations, it is often difficult or impossible to provide a precise annotated back-ground source for any given specific print. Our inventory is enormous, always growing and constantly shifting. Our knowledge is based on more than 40 years of looking at old, vintage & rare printed items, starting when the owner first began collecting, studying & dealing in rare comic books, in the very early 1970's. We're sorry, but this means we cannot give you the exact source for a print- it would involve hunting & researching for potentially hours in rambling endless inventories across 3 buildings.
If you receive your order and are unhappy for any reason, please email us immediately! We are without fail friendly, honest, intelligent and want you to be happy. We willingly accept returns for 30 days after you receive any item, and issue refunds without delay or hassle. We guarantee the authenticity and stand behind everything we sell-- for life. We are primarily interested in building long-term relationships and anything you ever purchase from us is subject to your inspection & approval. We are comitted to your old paper happiness!
We are diligently working to become a leading world-wide source of authentic & well-priced interesting old maps & vintage graphically printed sheets of paper. Vintage printed images which are pleasing to own & look at.
We also run our own active and constantly updated website* which we invite you to visit. Everything offered there is not found in our eBay stores.
Best regards from all of us here at Antiquemapsprints
(c) 2014 Brian DiMambro*
*fellow ebay print & map sellers-- please do not plagarize my writings. If you use them, kindly credit me.