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Last May, the Brooklyn Historical Society discovered a rare 1770 Ratzer map in its possession.  The map was delivered to the society's office in May along with a shipment of other maps and prints from their warehouse in Connecticut.  There was no catalog listing the map or any record of how the map was acquired, but the society was thrilled with the discovery nonetheless.  Prior to this finding, it was widely believed that only three copies of this exact map, Bernard Ratzer's 1770 "Plan of the City of New York", were in existence. The map was in dismal condition, as it had been heavily shellacked, mounted onto linen and cut into strips so it could be easily stored.  Jonathan P. Derow, a paper conversationalist, was commissioned with the monumental task of restoring the famous map.  The map was so fragile that Mr. Derow was unable to move it to his Brooklyn office; instead, he had to set up shop in a makeshift tent in the society's office. Thus began the labor intensive process of restoration, which culminates with a private viewing party at the society tonight.  In order to repair the map in areas where it had been ripped and white lines appeared, Mr. Derow visited the Argosy Book Store (ABAA member!) and purchased several obscure titles printed on cloth paper, which he subsequently baked and boiled.  He then used the remaining substance to fill in the white lines to match the rest of the map. (Check out the before and after pictures in detail here.) Being unfamiliar with the process of restoration, I found this technique very interesting, but couldn't help wince at the thought of books being baked and boiled!  It brought to mind another article I read in the Times a week or two ago about the use of rare books for purely decorative purposes, which I found to be more cringe worthy.  I'm intrigued to hear your opinion as sellers—is a sale a sale, or would you hesitate to sell if you knew what was to become of the item?

Rare 1170 Map of New York City Is Restored