Shipping Antique Maps & Prints worldwide
Information & Help
This page aims to assist the visitor with information pertaining to the Past Pages web site.
Genuine Antique Maps, Prints and Ephemera. No Reproductions or Modern Copies.
All items are described as accurately and efficiently as possible. You will not be bogged down with volumes of academic descriptive text. Please enquire if you require more information on an item. All items are supplied as loose sheets - not mounted, and not framed. I do not offer framing or mounting as a sales option. These services are best acquired locally.
All items are assumed to be in stock. This web site is amended and updated after every sale to remove freshly sold items. It is fairly safe to assume that any item on this web site is still available. This condition fails if two people request the same item before the first has paid for the item. On very rare occasions an item has got lost or placed in the wrong storage area, and cannot be located, resulting in immense embarrassment and grovelling messages of apology. In general, assume displayed stock is unsold and available.
All items on this site are guaranteed 'original' or 'genuine antiques'. This means that they are not modern reproductions.
All items are printed. A hand drawn map or sketch is known as 'manuscript'.
Do not confuse 'original' with 'manuscript'. Do not confuse 'hand-coloured' with 'manuscript'.
Any 'manuscript' item will be clearly indicated in the item's description.
All items were printed at or around the time stated - see 'Dates' further down.
All sizes are in mm (width x height) with an accuracy of about 5mm. For those happier in cm divide by 10 (100mm = 10cm). For those happier in the imperial system divide by 25 (1 inch is approx 25mm).
Sizes relate to: (a) the size of the paper if the margins are not excessive and there is no sign of a plate mark; (b) the plate size (if it is apparent) or (c) in the case of excessive margins, the printed area plus about 20mm representing a likely plate limit.
Sometimes the width x height dimensions are the wrong way around, and is an oversight in the copy & paste process. Common sense and observation of the image should clarify the situation. Click here for more on Sizes and Margins
Condition is very subjective. Quantifying fair, good, very good, is a difficult task and will never satisfy everyone. The descriptions will list all faults and will not try to embellish an item or disguise a flaw in order to improve a sale. Please enquire if you have any doubts about any aspect of the descriptions. In the case of items with very large margins, minor damage to the edges may not be mentioned. Some large items may have been stored for long periods in rolls or tubes and may develop a coiled profile. This can usually be corrected by prolonged pressing in a flat condition with weights. Some items that have been subjected to uneven dampness or uneven drying conditions may develop an irregular and bumpy surface. This is known as 'cockling' and cannot always be corrected.
Where possible I try and note any repairs. Good repairs, made with professional archive material, may go un-noticed at the time of describing the item. This is not intentional.
Sometimes repair tape is placed over small tears or vulnerable places in order to strengthen the paper or to try and prevent a small vulnerability from becoming a tear. If these patches are placed at the margins and well away from the plate mark, or printed area, they will not be flagged as repairs.
In all cases of repair this establishment uses Lineco Transparent Mending Tissue L533-0017 - Pressure sensitive, acid free, lignin free, non-yellowing, ultra thin, always applied to the reverse side of a map or print.
The terms 'foxing' and 'offset transfer' may be used to describe certain discolouration properties of the item.
Follow this link for a more detailed explanation and examples : Stains and Discolourations
Phrases such as 'age-toned' generally refer to a condition of uniform discolouration of the paper due to environmental conditions.
Dates attributed to items are the best that can be determined. If a 'c' is attributed to a date (ie c1758) this is an approximation, but is not far off. There are many reasons for the uncertainty, and most of them are attributable to the fluid management of the printing and publishing business in the past. Publications would often enjoy many editions over several decades. Publishers would happily assemble new publications from old, left-over stock. Illustrations and maps would often appear in publications long after their original appearance date. To illustrate the problem we'll assume a plate for a map was produced in 1780, bearing a date of 1780 for a publication in 1780. Maps coming from this publication could truly be dated as 1780. In 1790 another edition appeared with the plate unchanged. Some new maps were printed, but some of the old 1780 maps were used. Again in 1800, some new maps were printed, but on a batch of old paper with a watermark of 1775. For the 1810 edition the plate was changed to remove the date, and a fresh print run. But, this edition also used some of the old stock from the 1800 edition (with the 1780 date). These are the sort of issues that make accurate dating of some items very difficult. Some maps and prints were printed for specific publications (such as the Gentleman's Magazine or The Universal Magazine). The map or print was commissioned, the plate made, print run executed, publication printed, copper printing plates melted down for re-work. That was it - no more printing and the publication date is fixed (sometimes to the very day).
Some items, such as the Owen-Bowen road maps, were printed over a prolonged publication run. In the case of Owen-Bowen it was between 1720 and 1760. An 'original' map would be one printed within this publication period. More specifically, the earliest would be classed as 'First Edition'.
Maps and prints from other long running publications such as Rollin's History and Buffon's Natural History are frustratingly difficult to date.
A Google search can sometimes reveal more information, but it can also be misleading. On one particular search I found 3 references with wildly different dates for the same item.
Dates can be tricky!
These maps and prints circulate within the trade for years and various dealers adopt the habit of pencilling a date on rear of the item. When a damaged book is broken it is usually good practice to note the date (from the title page) on the back of any maps or prints. The dates are sometimes taken at face value if there is no immediate means of verifying the date.
If the date of an item is not known, or not readily to hand, rather than guess or mislead, it will be excluded from the description.
Most of the items for sale originate from old atlases and old books. I have had the occasional item returned from an indignant customer claiming ' .. it's no more than a page from a book'. Well, yes - antique maps come from antique atlases, sometimes disguised as books. Some items were produced as free standing maps, illustrations or posters, but the major source is from bound publications that have come onto the antique market as odd volumes or 'breakers' (books in such poor condition that they are beyond economic restoration). Double page illustrations naturally come with a centre fold. Some maps and prints have multiple folds where they were compacted into a bound publication. Some folded illustrations may have minor repair work at the folds or margins where necessary. Follow this link for more information on folded illustrations.
The majority of prints were originally published uncoloured, and have been hand coloured at a later date. Some prints were coloured at the time of publication. Maps are more difficult. In some publications, such as Tallis, they were all coloured and it is rare to find one uncoloured. In other publications, such as Owen & Bowen's road maps, they were uncoloured - all coloured copies have acquired their visual enhancements at a later date. John Speed atlases were generally supplied to order with the buyer choosing coloured or uncoloured maps. Some maps appearing in books or atlases were also sold by the publishers as single sheet maps - coloured or uncoloured. Knowledge of the publication can sometimes be an assurance of original colouring. , tell-tale signs of paper degradation due to the acid in the colouring pigment can be a sign of original (or at least old) colouring. A map produced in 1640 and coloured in 1680 can't really be called original colouring. It is very difficult (impossible, really) to judge the age of hand colouring. A good modern colourist can select tones and shades to simulate old colouring styles. There is very rarely an absolute guarantee to the authenticity of the age of the colouring, and it generally has little influence on the market price of the item. Only the fussiest of collectors and stuffiest of academics will argue this point (and they do!). In most cases, collectors prefer to see a coloured map. As this has been with us since the start of modern map collecting the the early 1600s, and is not a modern fad. The market is comfortable with the practice.
Images & Photography
The images presented are of the item for sale, not a library file of a similar item. The image is cropped for optimum useful data. In most cases the paper size (and margins) is far greater than that shown. Cropping is generally done to represent presentation if mounted. Sometimes shadows occur during photography giving the impression of large discoloured areas. If the description does not mention discolouration, then assume any large uniform discolourations to be photography shadows. Even some images from flat-bed scanners have shadow effects from certain textures of paper. The fine lines on some images may interfere optically with the line definition on your monitor (or the digital camera/scanner) and cause 'banding' or 'fringing' across parts of the image. This may not be present on the original. Click here for a practical demonstration.
Sometimes the image may appear distorted or out of square. There are two reasons for this:
(1) The original image was not engraved as a true rectangle. This quite common. Any side may be sloping and out of square with an adjoining side, and can only be attributed to sloppy engraving of the printing plate. Click here for examples
(2) The photography was sloppy and the camera was at a slight angle when taking that shot. This will cause a slight parallelogram effect. With very large items there may be a slight bowing of the sides caused by optical limits of the camera lens - sometimes called a 'fish-eye' effect.
In very unfortunate circumstances there may be a combination of both of the conditions described above. If in doubt, please enquire for verification.
The images shown do not do justice to the detail on the sale items.
Some items carry links to detail images. Most do not.
As a guide to the quality of the detail (particularly for maps) a new page has been created to give examples of details.
The detail shown will be typical for the specified series of maps or for the maps from a particular atlas.
The page was started in Dec 2008 and will be further expanded. Access Map Detail Page
This page examines the detail lost in photographing prints and line engravings. Access Print Detail Page
Screen Display and Image Quality
The image intensity and shades of colour will vary from monitor to monitor. The images are assessed here on a large, bright, high definition display. On some older displays, with less brightness, the same image may appear darker and the colours less vivid. There is no single solution to the variation in the quality of picture images across the internet. The quality and display settings ( contrast, brightness, colour temperature and gamma ) of your monitor will have a large impact on your perception of transmitted images.
Here at Mission Control there are several monitors and they all show a slightly different interpretation of the same image.
As displays age, so the brightness will gradually drop. The day by day, or even month by month, deterioration will not be noticeable and will probably not be corrected. As technology improves we will be offered even brighter screens using less power. One of the up and coming display specification parameters is 'dynamic contrast' - the difference in brightness range between darkest black and brightest white.
This all goes to fuel the problem of no two of us ever seeing the same interpretation of the same displayed image. Whatever picture you see on this web site, or any other web site, has no standard reference. Whoever created the picture relied on the settings of their local hardware to give them a really good image - as they saw it. You are viewing it on anything from a Flintstone Z100 to the latest broadcast quality monitor and it's anyone's guess how they compare.
Desktop computers have free-standing monitors and the Brightness and Contrast can be set quite easily. Once set, these parameters do not change and there is a good consistency of image quality.
Laptop computers are a different kettle of fish altogether and have minds of their own. Because of the desire to save power, particularly when running in battery mode, they reset the brightness controls to lower levels. In theory they should run at top brightness when powered from an AC adapter. Sometimes they do, but if the internal temperature rises after a period of operation the screen power will be cranked down, not to save power, but to prevent over heating. In short, you never know where you stand with image consistency on a laptop computer. To find out more just Google " laptop lcd brightness" or "laptop screen brightness" and see just how much unresolved anguish there is out there. Users of tablet or mobile devices may also experience a variability of image quality.
For those feeling uneasy about image quality click here for some examples and help - Screen settings
Each of the sales listings has two images. The first is the small thumbnail image in the left-hand column and the second is the large image obtained when the thumbnail is clicked. Sometimes there will be a third as a detail. These are tested when the web site is updated to make sure that the image files are safely up on the web server. There will be times when image files get corrupted at the web server and they will not download. This generates the dreaded 404 error message warning of a missing file. I would be grateful for any reports of these errors so that a fresh copy of the image file can be uploaded.
I sometimes have several copies of a particular item. If a similar looking item differs by publisher or a different publication date it will not be considered as duplicate stock. Sometimes the duplicate may be independently described. Recently I have been indicating duplicate stock within square braces. Therefore the presence of [ HGP020 ] in an item description will indicate that a duplicate, with a reference number HGP020, exists as an alternative. There may be a hyper-link to an illustration of the duplicate.
Updates and Fresh Stock
Stock is generally updated and increased once or twice a month, or sometimes weekly. Unlike some dealers, I do not have a 'Recent Additions' section. I find these misleading. One dealer thinks it's OK if stock stays in this area for 12 months! The web site introduction page will indicate the date of the last stock update, but will not indicate where the fresh stock was deposited. It is therefore unfortunate if the fresh stock was entirely of London maps and your interest is in prints of cattle. Anyone wishing to attune themselves to a slight give-away may note this: All stock items carry a reference number and this is allotted at the time the item is entered onto my database. Generally, the item is added to the web site shortly after this event. The three letters give a clue to the entry date - 1st is the year of entry ( G=2007, H=2008, I=2009, etc) Letter 'S' is the exception here. 2nd letter is month of entry ( A=Jan, B=Feb, C=March, etc). 3rd letter a is stock type reference. So, item HBM023 was the 23rd map registered in Feb2008. This may help in mentally filtering the fresh stock on any page.
Locating Stock and Search Facility
There are several pages of menus and indexed categories to enable the user to find the right page for their item(s).
I do not have a search facility for the reasons stated on this Search Information Page
Copyright of Images
This is for anyone wishing to publish books, pamphlets, or use antique images for exhibitions, promotions or web sites.
The images on this web site are mine and you cannot use them without my permission - that is the law.
As an example, item ABC123 on this web site was photographed by me and the rights to that image are mine.
If you chose to purchase item ABC123 from me the item becomes yours.
If you then photograph that item the rights to your image are yours, and you can boast copyright ownership from the rooftop.
My old image of item ABC123 is still mine even though the item has now passed to another owner. My photograph is still mine.
If I have an identical print to that held by the British Museum or British Library my copyright protects the photograph I took of my item, and theirs protects the photograph they took of their item.
Orders & Enquiries
All communications to Tony Nicholls at:
Click here for Enquiry Form
For Orders see the Terms, Conditions & Ordering Page
The Past Pages web site is designed, built, maintained, fed and watered
(Resident and local bacon sandwich gourmet of Pembury, Kent, UK)
How it works
This web site uses 100% recycled pixels
Pembury is in the quiet countryside of Kent, just off the A21 London to Hastings Road.
Visit our village web site for more details.
www.pembury.org.uk or pembury businesses
You will also find a section on old maps featuring Pembury and the general locality. There is also an an article by Tony Nicholls about the significance of old maps to local historians and the pitfalls of interpreting old maps.
Best pub in Pembury - The Black Horse
I am often asked about purchasing items via this web site. If you intend approaching me with the intention of offering me your family heirlooms please read further.
I do not purchase from outside the UK - the process is too messy and complicated.
I must either see the item or a high quality, high-resolution image, along with its dimensions. A vague and woolly description is not good enough.
I will probably not reply to enquiries that do not carry good descriptions, sizes and good resolution images.
If you make the effort with the enquiry, I'll make the effort with the reply.
Anything in a frame or mount will not be considered. Your maps or prints may be rare and possibly valuable, but the investment that you have made in the framing is wasted. It will be difficult for you to liquidate the money you have spent in the framing and decoration of your prints or maps..
Most of the businesses in maps and prints are now on the internet, and dealers like me do not deal in frames. We do not like frames. Frames are a liability. Frames are a personal choice and are akin to home decoration and cushions - we all have different tastes. Frames do not travel well in the post and are costly to ship - and break!
Important fact - the internet does not like framed items.
I would suggest -
(1) Do not waste too much time exploring the internet. Even eBay punters shy away from framed items.
If you want to try selling it on eBay - dump the frame.
(2) Investigate your local galleries or local auction houses that are happy with framed items.
Please consider this when you are purchasing an antique map or print as an investment - the piece of paper is the item of value. If you then choose lavish frames and mounts you are not adding to its value. Consider a frame as a display mechanism that has no real re-sale value.
Frames aside, regarding the value of your map or print, do not set your sights too high on pricing. I am based close to London - the epicentre of antique books, prints and maps.
Site Map, Navigation & Updates
This is intended to be as simple as possible.
The style is designed for maximum clarity - follow this link for details.
There is a minimum of indexing and sub-indexing.
You will not have to drill down though many page levels.
The menu list on the top-left gives the main category selection.
The marker arrow indicates your current location.
Links to larger illustrations are marked locally.
Use your browser 'Back' or 'Return' button to return from an image display.
Right click the browser 'Back' button to view your recent history of visited pages.
Stock updates will be frequent, but not necessarily regular.
The site introduction page will indicate the last update event.
This was when fresh stock was added, not when sold stock was removed.
Listings of sold stock may be removed on a daily basis.
Listings of sold items are removed when payment is complete.
During the short period of a sale commitment and payment
the item will still be displayed on the web site.
In most cases, and at most times, displayed stock is available for sale.
For maximum compatibility this site uses the minimum of complexity in its structuring.
This site will undergo maintenance as needed.
Site testing is not possible for all flavours of browser and operating system.
I generally test major changes on Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera,
but not on all releases of each browser.
Click here for brief tutorial on Browser Compatibility
Click here for brief tutorial on Browser Settings
Please report any problems running these pages.
I can't promise to fix all incompatibilities.
The button below is for searching the site for a specific item Ref No.
Summary of Information Pages Listed Here
Stains and Discolourations
Images & Photography
Help on Local Maps
Maps with Errors
Curiosities on Maps
Screen Settings and Test Patterns
How The Internet Works
How Internet Addresses are Found
Web Styles and Text Visibility
Web Security Notes
How Email Works (and sometimes doesn't)
How Filenames get Mangled by the Internet
How Search Engines Work (and sometimes don't)
The PayPal Process
Reference Page of Selected Sold Items
Some Useful Links
Brief Article on the History of British Road Maps
Motco - an interesting collection of maps and prints of London.
Map Forum - an online map journal
MapHist - General map history and reference information
Images of Early Maps on the Web
The London Topographical Society
Internet Library of Early Journals
The Harvard Map Collection
The British Library
Bodlian Library Map Room
The David Rumsey Map Collection
Roger Stewart Africa Map Collection
Tony Burgess Printed Maps of Kent
Peter Walker Printed Maps of Essex
The Royal Mail web site
The Universal Currency Converter
PayPal.com PayPal (UK)
Simon Hunter Antique Maps - UK map dealer
The best local pub - The Black Horse, Pembury
Pembury Village Web Site
I will be happy to include useful reference sites and reciprocal dealer links here.
Please report any broken links or dead pages.
About Past Pages
Past Pages was started as a trading venture in 1978 by Tony Nicholls & Keith Sullivan and lasted for about 5 years as a small business and past-time activity. The market, local antiques shops and antiques fairs in South East England, was quite limited and specialised mostly in local topographical material. In 2005 Tony Nicholls embarked on an internet based mail order business and resurrected the old name as an internet address. The range of stock has increased considerably, as has the scope of customer distribution. Keith Sullivan is not involved in this project, but looks on with keen interest and amusement.
This enterprise is mail order only - no shop, no gallery, no retail space to view or collect stock. No unnecessary travel with sky-high car park fees and no contact with bad tempered staff making you wish you'd stayed at home. Yes, I've been down that track - spent hours to get to a specialist shop only to find grumpy dim-wits not knowing and not caring.
Here, the absence of an automatic shopping cart encourages the customer to make direct contact with the seller in order to facilitate a helpful and cosy internet experience acquiring their prints or maps.
Opening hours are whenever I am at home and awake - the computers are always on. I will not be transfixed to the screen at all times but will take periodic reviews of communications.
This web site is carbon neutral, recycles pixels & fonts, eco-friendly, safe for whales & dolphins, zero calories, saves planets, etc ...
(does contain a few artificial colours)