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The Oldest Map of New York Is On Goatskin and Costs $10 Million

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maggioloportolan-low-res-copy
(Courtesy of Daniel Crouch Rare Books – crouchrarebooks.com)

 

In 1531, the Genoese cartographer Vesconte Maggiolo created a map featuring America’s eastern seaboard, including New York harbor. It is the oldest extant map—or, more accurately, “Portolan planisphere”, a navigational chart that covered the known world—of what became New York City.

Measuring 6.7-feet wide and 3-feet tall, the map is on vellum made from six goat skins; rare book and map dealer (and current owner) Daniel Crouch describes it as “virtually indestructible.”

It can also soon be yours: Crouch is placing it on the market at $10 million—that would equal the highest price ever paid for a map—at New York’s TEFAF art fair, which opens to the public on Oct. 22. To better appreciate the value of this remarkable item, watch a video on it below.