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The answer to this question depends on your goals. If you simply want something to fill a blank wall, a reproduction might be your best approach.
However, reproductions lack the aesthetic qualities of the original. Original authentic objects carry imaginative power from their associations in time and place. A mass-produced object, fundamentally indistinguishable from other members of its production run, will suddenly gain value through its association, as, for example, a baseball that happens to be used for a historic play.
For many, that association is powerful. Like a piece of authentic Louis XV furniture, a map published in the 18th century in France has a history: it has survived revolutions and wars along with the everyday dangers of accident and decay.
In the 1930s, Walter Benjamin famously argued that original works of art had an “aura,” an authenticity related to its time and place. It is this aura, this authenticity, that makes antiques special. It is possible to buy a modern reproduction of an authentic antique. But that reproduction has none of the aura of the original work, none of its imaginative power.
Assessing whether a map is real or fake takes a trained eye. The first aspect to determine is how the map was printed. Woodblock cuts, copper or steel plate engravings, and lithographs are the most common printing methods. These types are relatively easy to recognize. A plate etching is precisely that: a motif etched in reverse and then pressed onto the paper. The paper must be of a certain thickness and quality to handle the force, and the printing process will leave an impression outside the map area.
In most cases, the impression is visible to the naked eye and can be felt by running your fingertips over it. When discerning a lithograph from a later offset print, using a strong magnifying glass is best. If the applied image consists of numerous tiny dots, it is an offset; lithographs will appear as a more coherent blob.
So, here are things to consider:
1. Is the paper appropriate to the age of the map?
2. Is the printing style correct? Is there a clear plate mark?
3. Check for obvious marks that it is a legal reproduction.
If it has a title or other large text, it is best to copy this carefully and google it. Most maps are multiples, meaning they have been produced in many copies, and so chances are that some collection, dealer, or auction house somewhere has handled it. This information will only give you a first impression, though, as some maps exist in many different states, which range considerably in value.
Maps speak to us about how humanity’s understanding of the world progressed. Some maps are appealing because they changed how we look at the world, while others are attractive because they reflect a single cartographer’s vision. It is hard to say which resonates more significantly on the market. If your map has age, is authentic, and does not figure a hundred times on eBay for $20, chances are your map might be worth something. Remember that only the rarest maps are very valuable, so even if you find something that looks like it comes with a high price tag, this may not always be the case. If you are in doubt, never hesitate to contact us. We are happy to provide you with a free and non-binding assessment.
Among our many areas of expertise, the following stand out: San Francisco, California, the American West, Colonial America, Railroad maps, the Northwest Passage, early exploration and mapping, and the scientific mapping of the Middle East.
Neatline is an online boutique based in San Francisco.
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This is our privacy and cookies policy that explains who we are, why and how we process personal data in relation to you and, if you are the subject of any of the personal data concerned, what rights you have and how to get in touch with us if you need to.
Who are we?
We are Neatline Antique Maps (Neatline). Our contact and other details are set out at the end of this policy. We are the data controller in relation to the personal data processed in accordance with this policy (except where this policy explains otherwise).
What personal information do we collect from the people who visit our website, join our mailing list, or register on our site?
When joining our mailing list, ordering or registering on our site, as appropriate, you may be asked to enter your name, email address, mailing address, phone number, credit card information or other details to help you with your experience.
We may process information that we obtain from communicating with you, including:
Information relating to our dealings with you or the person you work for
We may process information relating to our dealings with you, including:
What personal data may we process when you use our website?
Information that we obtain from you when you use our website includes:
When do we collect information?
We collect information from you when you place an order, join our mailing list, register or enter information on our site, or visit our site.
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We may use the information we collect from you when you register, make a purchase, join our mailing list, respond to a survey or marketing communication, surf the website, or use certain other site features in the following ways:
How do we protect visitor information?
Our website is scanned on a regular basis for security holes and known vulnerabilities in order to make your visit to our site as safe as possible.
Your personal information is contained behind secured networks and is only accessible by a limited number of persons who have special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. In addition, all sensitive/credit information you supply is encrypted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology.
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The data that we process in relation to you may be transferred to, and stored at, a destination outside the European Economic Area ("EEA") that may not be subject to equivalent data protection law.
Where personal data is transferred in relation to providing our services we will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that it is subject to appropriate safeguards, such as relying on a recognized legal adequacy mechanism which may include by entering into EC approved standard contractual clauses relevant to transfers of personal information see:
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All personal data processed by is stored securely. Where we have given you (or where you have chosen) a password which enables you to access certain parts of our website or systems, you are responsible for keeping this password confidential. We ask you not to share a password with anyone.
Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our website and any transmission is at your own risk. Once we have received your information, we will use strict procedures and security features to try to prevent unauthorized access.
How long do we process personal data for?
We process personal data only for so long as is necessary for the purpose(s) for which it was originally collected, after which it will be deleted or archived except to the extent that it is necessary for us to continue to process it for the purpose of compliance with legal obligations to which we are subject or for another legitimate and lawful purpose.
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You have the following rights in relation to personal data relating to you that we process:
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Changes to this policy
Any changes we make to our privacy and cookies policy in the future will be posted on this page. Please check back frequently to see any updates or changes to our privacy and cookies policy.
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Third Party Disclosure
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information.
Third party links
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Google's advertising requirements can be summed up by Google's Advertising Principles. They are put in place to provide a positive experience for users. https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/1316548?hl=en
We use Google AdSense Advertising on our website.
We have implemented the following:
We along with third-party vendors, such as Google use first-party cookies (such as the Google Analytics cookies) and third-party cookies (such as the DoubleClick cookie) or other third-party identifiers together to compile data regarding user interactions with ad impressions, and other ad service functions as they relate to our website.
Users can set preferences for how Google advertises to you using the Google Ad Settings page. Alternatively, you can opt out by visiting the Network Advertising initiative opt out page or permanently using the Google Analytics Opt Out Browser add on.
California Online Privacy Protection Act
According to CalOPPA we agree to the following:
Users can visit our site anonymously
Users are able to change their personal information:
How does our site handle do not track signals?
We honor do not track signals and do not track, plant cookies, or use advertising when a Do Not Track (DNT) browser mechanism is in place.
Does our site allow third party behavioral tracking?
It's also important to note that we do not allow third party behavioral tracking
COPPA (Children Online Privacy Protection Act)
When it comes to the collection of personal information from children under 13, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) puts parents in control. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, enforces the COPPA Rule, which spells out what operators of websites and online services must do to protect children's privacy and safety online.
We do not specifically market to children under 13.
Fair Information Practices
The Fair Information Practices Principles form the backbone of privacy law in the United States and the concepts they include have played a significant role in the development of data protection laws around the globe. Understanding the Fair Information Practice Principles and how they should be implemented is critical to comply with the various privacy laws that protect personal information.
In order to be in line with Fair Information Practices we will take the following responsive action, should a data breach occur:
We will notify the users via email
We also agree to the individual redress principle, which requires that individuals have a right to pursue legally enforceable rights against data collectors and processors who fail to adhere to the law. This principle requires not only that individuals have enforceable rights against data users, but also that individuals have recourse to courts or a government agency to investigate and/or prosecute non-compliance by data processors.
CAN SPAM Act
The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have emails stopped from being sent to them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.
We collect your email address in order to:
To be in accordance with CANSPAM we agree to the following:
If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, you can email us at
and we will promptly remove you from ALL correspondence.
San Francisco, California
Last Edited in July 2019