About Us

Lindisfarne Prints

Lindisfarne Prints is a small family business specialising in genuine antique maps and prints at affordable prices. Established in 1995 and trading online since 2000, we pride ourselves on accurate descriptions, good communications, rapid service and fair prices. To avoid any confusion, no item less than 100 years old is ever offered for sale. We do not deal in reproductions, facsimiles or modern copies of any kind.
So please buy with confidence in the safe knowledge that authenticity is unfailingly assured.

Where do antique maps and prints come from?

Occasionally, someone new to antique print collecting will be disappointed with their purchase and say "it's just a page from a book!"
The vast majority of all antique prints come from old books. Before the advent of modern printing processes engravings and lithographs were used to illustrate books. Most of the images sold by Lindisfarne Prints would originate from disbound 17th, 18th and 19th century publications, especially the topographical prints used to illustrate travel guides, popular in Victorian times and earlier. They have been collected for many years and often outlive the books from which they originate. We tend to buy them in large varied collections of up to a thousand or more. Similarly, most antique maps originate from old atlases. Whenever we know the actual source of a print, ie. the title and date of the original book, we will state this in our description. Both antique maps and prints were sometimes published as individual items, but this was much less common.

How do we date our antique maps and prints?

Map and print publishers often make this easy by printing the publication date in the lower margin. Alternatively we may have the title page to the source book or atlas which bears the date. Without this specific information we need to use other means. We have been dealing in antique prints and maps for many years and the majority of the relatively common publications will be known to us, so again a specific date can be given. Where several editions were published and we are unsure of which one a print originates from, the date will be given as "circa" or around the given date.

The publisher's, engraver's and artist's credits at the foot of a printed image are another indication of approximate date, derived from the time period in which these individuals were active. Some however bear no marks and then we need to look for more generalised clues such as paper type, printing method, style, and so on.

Topographical details , especially with maps are another indicator. Knowing when specific man made features were constructed is an interesting and useful dating tool. For example in maps of London, is Tower Bridge present? Does this map of Egypt show the Suez Canal? Political boundaries and country names come and go with the passing centuries and again help the dating process.

Dates we give as "circa" are rarely more than 10 years out, but it is important for buyers to have a little understanding here. Sometimes we run out of steam and the best we can say is e.g. late 18th century, or mid 19th century.

So, to summarize, our dates are not given lightly and we stand by the information given, but "circa" means just that, and it is not a specific date.

When is a print or map a genuine antique item?

The most commonly held view is that to be described as antique, an item needs to be at least a hundred years old. Everything listed on our website is guaranteed to be a genuine antique item and is therefore by definition over 100 years old.

What about originality?

New collectors sometimes make the common mistake of thinking an original antique map or print is a totally unique item. It must be remembered that the printing processes used were of course a means of producing multiple copies from the printing plate and popular items would have been printed in their hundreds or more. There are no records of how many were made, and certainly no way of assessing how many may have survived over the centuries. The term original means that the printed example on offer was produced from the original printing block and not a later reproduction or facsimile.

What about condition?

You of course have the right to expect your print to be in the condition it was described to be in. Tears, repairs, renovation, browning etc. will all be mentioned in the description if they are significant, but we do expect buyers to be reasonable in their expectations and understand that minor blemishes and signs of age are not major faults. If you want something that looks as if it were printed yesterday you are probably better off looking for a modern reproduction.

Why buy antique maps in the first place?

Antiques of any kind are rightly regarded as sound investments and in times of low interest and generally poor returns from financial investments a good antique map or print can look after your money very well indeed in the medium to long term. If this is a priority to you then the best advice is to go for the upper end of the market, particularly in maps, and seek out less common items, in good condition. Look for maps by the great early cartographers such as Ortelius, Mercator, Blaeu, Speed, Jannson,or Saxton. The best thing about investing in maps is that they give great pleasure of ownership while increasing steadily in value.