First U.S. map purchased for record price

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The first map of the United States, created in 1784, has been purchased for the record price of $1.8 million by Washington philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, who is lending it to the Library of Congress.

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.

Rubenstein, the co-founder and managing director of the Carlyle Group, bought the map at an auction at Christie's in December. He was attracted to the map's historic pedigree, he says.

"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.," Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein bid long-distance for it. "The day of the auction I was in a board meeting at Duke. I stepped outside and bid by phone," Rubenstein explained. "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."...

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