It was quite the journey for one missing artifact, but it has finally made its way back home.
A 400-year-old map that is believed to have gone missing from the Boston Public Library more than a decade ago has been located at a New York City antiques dealer and returned.
The map, Carte Geographique de Nouvelle France, compiled in 1612 by explorer Samuel de Champlain, was found for sale at an antiques dealer for $285,000, according to the library, which made the announcement Friday.
Norman B. Leventhal Map Center curator Ronald Grim made the discovery — he was also the man who realized in 2005 that the item had disappeared.
Grim has just arrived at the library and found it missing from a book describing Champlain’s exploration in North America, “Les Voyages du Sieur de Champlain,” published in Paris in 1613. He made the discovery while doing inventory following the arrest of E. Forbes Smiley for the theft of maps at Yale University in June 2005. It was determined that a total of 69 maps out of the library’s atlases and books were missing.
Thirty-four of those missing items have since been recovered (not including the Champlain map), and Forbes Smiley confessed to stealing 34.
Grim was able to identify the missing Champlain map in an antiques publication this summer. A third party expert had to then confirm its ownership.
The antiques dealer had been retained by a third party to sell the map on commission, according to the library.
“I was stunned to come across the map, and thrilled to determine it indeed belongs to the Boston Public Library,” Grim said. “I’m proud it’s been returned to its rightful home.”
The map will be on display in the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Central Library in Copley Square from Dec. 4 through Feb. 29.