International Antiquarian Mapsellers Association

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Code of Ethics

The IAMA has been founded, in 2002, to encourage and promote interest in and appreciation of antiquarian maps and related cartographic materials (atlases, history of cartography). This statement has been prepared to establish and maintain professional and ethical standards; and to foster friendly relations among both the membership, and the antiquarian mapselling community at large.

Our members, from many nations, understand that they must obey applicable federal and international laws, and they are expected to exercise common sense and courtesy in dealing with each other and with the general public. Members must foster communal trust and responsibility between the trade and the public. Members are required to observe all restrictions, regulations and controls regarding the import or export of rare and valuable antiquarian maps and related materials, in whatever country they transact their business. 

The privilege of membership in the IAMA, and the display of its logo, imply and require this shared sense of ethical business standards. 

We all recognize the need for a set of shared guidelines, which include:

1. Members must understand the terminology of the trade. The business activities of the organization (as opposed to the retail operations of the individual dealer) will be conducted in English.

2. Members must strive to provide accurate descriptions of all items offered for sale. All significant defects, restorations, and/or annotations should be clearly noted and made known to those to whom the material is offered or sold. Unless both parties agree otherwise, a full cash refund shall be made available to the purchaser of any misrepresented material. It is expected that the buyer will be given a minimum period of 7 days wherein any item may be returned for any reason, as long as in the condition sent (postage paid by buyer). If it is determined that the material was distinctly flawed and this had not been noted in the item description, the returnable period will be extended to 30 days, and postage will be paid by the seller.

3(a). A member shall not knowingly purchase, hold, or attempt to resell stolen materials. Members shall make all reasonable efforts to ascertain that materials offered to them are the property of the seller, with specific intent of providing their customers with clear title.
3(b). Members shall make every effort to prevent the theft or distribution of stolen antiquarian maps and related materials, and shall cooperate with law enforcement authorities and the IAMA’s Board of Governors, in efforts to recover and return stolen materials, and apprehend and prosecute those responsible for the theft. This includes, but is not limited to, providing the names of the persons substantially suspected of theft.
3(c). The IAMA endorses the principles embodied in national and international copyright laws. An Members shall not knowingly violate copyright laws by selling, trading, distributing, or creating unlawfully produced copies of works currently protected by copyright, without the written, oral, or implied consent of the copyright owner.

4. Members shall vouch for the authenticity of all materials offered for sale, and shall make every reasonable effort to establish their true nature. Should it be determined that material offered as authentic is not authentic or is questionable, that material shall be returnable for a full cash refund, or other mutually agreeable arrangement. Material which is proven to be not authentic, or of disputed or undetermined nature, shall not again be offered for sale unless all facts concerning it are disclosed in writing.

5. Terms and conditions of sale should be clearly stated in all catalogues and on all websites. It should be made clear at the time of offer whether or not material is offered subject to prior sale. Members should pay in full for all material purchased within 30 days from date of invoice, unless other arrangements are made. Terms of sale should be clearly defined between seller and buyer at the time of sale and payment should be made in accordance with these terms. These terms, however, may be renegotiated by mutual consent of the buyer and seller.

6. Responsibility for damage in transit shall rest with the sender, unless otherwise stated. Members should exercise appropriate diligence in the handling, packing, and shipping of material in order to insure that it arrives in the same condition as when purchased. The cost of returning material incorrectly described shall be the responsibility of the seller. The cost of elective returns rests with the sender, unless otherwise arranged by mutual consent.

7. Members should permit any other Association member in good standing to buy from his or her inventory any material offered for sale [i.e. priced], and to extend to that member a reciprocal trade discount of at least 10 percent. (It is understood that there may be exceptions to this policy, such as I consignment sales, where more limited retail markups occur.) All material offered for sale clearly marked with the price. Material not for sale, or in the process of being catalogued should be appropriately removed from active inventory.

8. Members offering appraisal services shall be responsible for knowing current appraisal regulations as stipulated by the appropriate federal or national regulating authorities, and that member shall conduct such appraisals in strict compliance with those regulations. Appraisal fees should be clearly stated in advance. 

9. Members who accept commissions to purchase old maps and related materials for a client at auction will be responsible for the inspection of the material prior to the sale, and not rely solely on information supplied by the auctioning agency. Members are expected to exercise discretion and attempt to eliminate any risk of conflict of interest. Unless otherwise agreed before the sale, member fees will be 10% of the price on successful purchases only, and immediate payment is to be expected. The member is also responsible for collating and verifying the description of the purchased material, and returning to the auctioneer those items which are defective or wrongly described within the terms and conditions specified by the auctioning agency. 

10. Members should neither approach nor solicit customers in any other mapseller’s shop, book fair booth, or place of business without the introduction or consent of the proprietor.

The reputation of the IAMA requires that complaints or disputes involving its members be resolved in a manner befitting the objectives and standards of the organization. Claims against Association members, or disputes among members, should be made in writing (including, but not limited to email) to the Ethics Committee, at: . Breaches of this Code may constitute grounds for reprimand, censure, the imposition of a compensation order, suspension or expulsion from the IAMA. Members should not foster the antiquarian maps and related materials books as investment vehicles in themselves, or as part of investment schemes. Members are requested to place a shortened display version of this Code in prominent view at their principal place of business (including websites). All members are required to pledge their full support to the IAMA in promoting and upholding the provisions of this Code. All members are likewise under a formal duty to assist the appropriate IAMA committee in any investigation that may be made. Any obstruction or willful non-disclosure of relevant information shall of itself be considered a breach of the Code. 

Copyright © 2002 - 2010 The International Antiquarian Mapsellers Association, a non-profit organization. All rights reserved.