Value set at more than $600K

It began with a stunning discovery last year in the attic of a Scottish estate: a previously unknown, 312 year-old hand-drawn map of Canada by John Thornton, one of the leading cartographers of 17th-century Europe.

Expected to sell at a U.K auction in January for up to $120,000, the lost-and-found treasure became the focus of a fierce bidding war involving collectors and museums from around the world, including Manitoba’s provincial archives, that ended with the map’s purchase by a British rare-books dealer for close to $320,000. Now, the buzz-worthy Thornton map of 1699 is for sale again this weekend at a vintage map fair in Florida, this time for more than $600,000.

And in keeping with the map’s ballooning price, new research suggests the artifact’s historical value is far greater than originally understood. The dust-covered relic rescued from behind a water tank in Scotland appears to represent the landmark moment in Canada’s past when rival French and English empires first attempted to formally divide the country.