Estate Sale Map Turns Out to Be Rare 14th-Century Portolan – The Map Room

By neub9
1 Min Read

A Rare 14th Century Portolan Chart

A full-sized image of a 14th-century portolan chart on vellum.
Rex Tholomeus Portolan Chart, ca. 1360. Vellum, 1141 × 686 mm. Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps.

The Los Angeles Times has the story of a map that turned out to be far older and more valuable than anyone expected. Ann and Gordon Getty paid £56,600 for a portolan chart in 1993, restored it and put it on display in their home. After Ann died in 2020, Alex Clausen of Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps paid $239,000 for it at the estate sale. The map was dated to 1500-1525, but Clausen suspected it was older and therefore even more valuable. Hundreds of hours of research and lab tests determined a new date: circa 1360, making it the oldest portolan chart in the U.S. and the fourth oldest portolan chart known overall. As for how much more valuable, Ruderman thinks it’s worth a lot more than $239,000: they’re listing it for $7.5 million. They’ve named it the Rex Tholomeus Portolan Chart, after the single human figure appearing on the map, and you can see the listing and read the 49-page catalogue (PDF).

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *