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Treasure Hunter: Barry Ruderman

Treasure Hunter: Barry Ruderman

“Some of my earliest childhood memories involve sitting in my parents’ 1965 Chevy Impala, map in hand, trying to help my father navigate,” says attorney-turned-gallery owner Barry Ruderman. That childhood fascination resurfaced in 1990, when he wandered into an antique-map shop during a ski trip to New Mexico. “It was love at first site,” Ruderman says. “I bought a copy of The Map Collector magazine and then tried to decide whether to purchase an 1853 U.S. Coast Survey chart of the San Diego Harbor.” He did, and he hasn’t looked back. His “garage hobby” has evolved into a website and respected namesake La Jolla gallery, where he stocks 15th- to 19th-century maps, sea charts and atlases. “I satiate my collector’s instinct by buying things that excite me,” explains Ruderman, who was once involved in the sale of a 16th-century atlas of hand-drawn maps made for the Medici family. “Then I enjoy a second burst of energy when I pass it on to someone else, who appreciates it as much as I do.”

LX: Favorite sources:

BR: My go-to shops are Librairie Monsieur le Prince in Paris, Antiquarius in Rome (but you must insist upon going to the second floor, where the owner, Stefano Bifolco, keeps his cartographic treasures) and The Old Print Shop in New York City.

LX: Words of wisdom:

BR: Quality over quantity. It’s great advice for work, for play, for friendships and just about every other aspect of life.

LX: What have maps taught you?

BR: I’m a temporary custodian. They existed before I was here and will be here long after.

LX: Dream dinner party guests:

BR: Having dined with the Dalai Lama, Ted Turner and Linus Pauling (all at the same table in Santa Barbara), I’m not sure that I dare dream larger.

LX: Architecture you find most engaging:

BR: I can never get enough of Antoni Gaudí. He dared to see the world through his own spectacles. 

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