Library of Congress to display 1st US map sold for record $1.8mn

Washington, Feb 1 (ANI): Visitors to the Library of Congress will soon be able to view the first map of the United States, thanks to a philanthropist who snapped it for a record price of 1.8 million dollars at an auction.

David M. Rubenstein, co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, brought the 1784 map at Christie's in December, reports the Washington Post.

Rubenstein, who is loaning the map to the library for display, said he was attracted to the map's historic pedigree.

The Abel Buell map, named after the Connecticut cartographer who created it, has been a missing link in the library's vast collection of maps.

"This is the first map copyrighted, the first one to have the American flag and the first one made after the American Revolution. And it was the first one printed in the U.S.," said Rubenstein.

"My office said I had a letter from Jim Billington [the librarian of Congress] who wanted to know if I would help buy the map. This is one the library was missing. I called him and said I just bought it a few minutes ago," he added.

Actually, the library was also bidding on the scarce artefact.

"We did participate in the bid and found out on December 3 we had lost," said John R. Hebert, chief of the library's geography and map division.

The library had been coveting this map for decades and 'now we can document the process of the way we came to independence. We have a printed map used at the Treaty of Paris', he added.

The hand-colored engraved map is 43 inches by 48 inches, consisting of four parts united into one.

Created right after the Treaty of Paris, which marked the formal end of the American Revolutionary War, the map shows the new country.

"It covers the territory of the 13 colonies and an area east of the Mississippi River. The state boundaries are quite larger. Virginia, for example, extends from the Chesapeake Bay to the Ohio River," said Ed Redmond, the library's vault curator.

Only seven copies of the Buell map are known to exist and only two copies were sold in the 20th century, he said. (ANI)

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