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What happened to the Kidd Palmer charts?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:44 am
by Jo
I was reading a blog entry yesterday which detailed the history of the Kidd Palmer charts. I'd be interested to see if what he has to say is historically accurate and in particular, whether there has been any speculation on the whereabouts of these documents after Elizabeth Dick sold all four maps in 1950 to a man who later moved to Canada.

Here's the extract, I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts.

The Kidd-Palmer charts were discovered by retired lawyer and collector of pirate relics, Hubert Palmer, in a number of items of furniture that were said to have belonged to Captain William Kidd.

In 1929, Palmer bought a heavy 17th century oak bureau bearing the inscription "Captain William Kidd, Adventure Galley 1669," it is said that within the bureau Palmer found a secret compartment which contained a hand drawn map of an unnamed island, it bore the initials W. K., the words "China Sea" and was dated 1669.

Palmer went on to track down two sea chests and a wooden box that were also supposed to have belonged to Kidd, Palmer claimed to have found further maps in all three of them, all depicting the same unknown island, but with varying levels of detail.

After Hubert Palmer's death, ownership of all four of the maps passed to his housekeeper, Elizabeth Dick, who took them to the British Museum to be examined by map expert R. A. Skelton. Skelton expressed the opinion that all of the maps were genuine 17th century charts, a fact that he confirmed to author Rupert Furneaux in 1965.

Elizabeth Dick sold all four maps in 1950 to a man who later moved to Canada. Rupert Furneaux contacted the owner of the maps who told him "The charts are fading badly."

The current whereabouts of the four maps is unknown.

Many believe that the island depicted in the maps is not in the "China Sea" as the inscription claims, but is in fact Oak Island off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. The "China Sea" inscription being a deliberate attempt to throw treasure hunters off the scent.

William Kidd and Gardiners Island
Some have noted that the island in the Kidd-Palmer charts does look a little like Gardiners Island (Suffolk County, New York State), where Kidd unquestionably did conceal goods and items of value in the Cherry Tree Field area of island shortly before his arrest for piracy. This treasure was recovered and returned to England by Governor Bellomont where it was used as evidence at Kidd's trial.

Re: What happened to the Kidd Palmer charts?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:25 pm
by Tascio
Do you remember the address of the blog it came from? This is taken straight from my website: ... ctors.html

I actually have a couple of theories on who bought the maps and where they are now, currently trying to put them to the test. The info contained on that page is kinda the "official" story, a holding page until I gathered some sources. There are some gaping holes in the story as recorded by Wilkins, however.

Re: What happened to the Kidd Palmer charts?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:31 pm
by Jo
That's naughty!

It came from here:

Well, it's great news we have the *real* author on here anyway to answer our questions!

Are you happy to discuss your theories are are they still in early stages?

Re: What happened to the Kidd Palmer charts?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:42 pm
by mutakwe
Hi Jo,

This may be purely coincidental, but if you notice from that interview I just did I turned up an old article which states a man by the name of Samuel J. Goodman said he had 5 maps. Maybe he was the last one to have them? Is this name familiar to any of you out there?


Re: What happened to the Kidd Palmer charts?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:44 pm
by Tascio
Hehehe, even he didn't want my awesome Paintshop versions of two of Kidd-Palmer charts. :D

My theories are at very early stages, but maybe it would be good to get one of the ideas "out there", as it were, to see if it resonates with anybody. Has anybody considered that R. A. Skelton, the alleged British Museum map expert, was the person who bought the maps?

(But just for the record, I have no reason to believe any of the Kidd-Palmer charts are in anyway authentic)

Re: What happened to the Kidd Palmer charts?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:58 pm
by zimmy
I would think Paul Hawkins would have a world of knowledge about this but we have not heard from him in awhile. I wonder how his treasure hunt is going?

Re: What happened to the Kidd Palmer charts?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:39 pm
by FutureProspect784

I wonder how his treasure hunt is going?

Couldn't tell you. Whenever he pops in here, which is not that often, I always ask how the treasure hunt is going, but he never really says anything. There was supposed to be something on TV about it at one time, I believe, but I don't know what became of that.

Re: What happened to the Kidd Palmer charts?

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:20 am
by . . .
The Palmer-Kidd maps were actually sold to a partnership in Canada (Toronto) in 1956, not in 1950 (which was the date of the initial approach.) I know the name of one of the partners, and probably that of the other - whose identity should be fairly easy to confirm. In 1975, the maps were in a safety deposit vault in Winnipeg. I imagine that the partners may no longer be alive, and it's surprising that nobody has heard of the maps in the past 40 years, in view of the widespread interest and the possible change of ownership. However, the last I heard, the senior partner was the only one with access, and it's to be hoped that he didn't die without passing on the key!

R.A. Skelton definitely saw only one of the maps (the Skeleton Map, or Key Chart), as he informed Rupert Furneaux by letter. He certainly didn't buy the maps, and he certainly didn't confirm their authenticity to Furneaux. The British Museum Map Room (now at the British Library) has no record of the inspection, and no copies - and they show not a little irritation when asked about them. However, it's not surprising there's no record, as the inspection was private and confidential. Incidentally, Samuel J. Goodman's correspondence shows that he had a very loose interpretation of what constitutes a Kidd map. But why take my word on all this when, as noted above, you have experts at hand?

In my series of books concerning these and other maps, I link the instructions on the two main Palmer-Kidd maps, and on four of the Wilkins maps, to Oak Island. The fact that the pieces of paper aren't original doesn't mean that the instructions written on them aren't authentic. Much depends on whether one has the courage to concede that treasure maps may not just be a thing of fiction, and that the instructions on these maps could have been part of a sophisticated device to identify a point on Oak Island other than the Money Pit.

As reported in a recent post elsewhere on the forum, my three books are available from Amazon under the title of Maps, Mystery and Interpretation.

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