March 2017 Auction Ends Thursday, March 30th, 5pm Pacific
1843 Force Declaration of Independence from the original copper plate by William Stone, one of the earliest copies of the Declaration of Independence. In 1823, Congress authorized the production of facsimile copies of the Declaration of Independence for two reasons: the original was deteriorating rapidly and many of the aging original Signers sought copies. John Quincy Adams, then Secretary of State, oversaw the project and commissioned noted engraver William J. Stone to reproduce the document. Stone used a new Wet-Ink transfer process to create a copper plate from which facsimile copies were made. By wetting the original document, some of the original ink was transferred to the copperplate, which was then used for printing. Stone printed 201 copies on vellum, keeping one copy for himself (now residing in the Smithsonian) and distributing other copies to Thomas Jefferson, President James Monroe, members of Congress, surviving original Signers, various colleges and universities, and others. Of the original 201 copies, only 31 examples are currently known to exist, 19 of which are permanently housed in museums.
In 1843, Peter Force used the original Stone copperplate to print additional copies of the Declaration of Independence on rice paper for inclusion in his book, ''American Archives''. Congress authorized up to 1,500 copies of the book to be printed, and while the actual number of copies printed is unknown, it's generally estimated at 500; it is the oldest Declaration apart from the original and the Stone copies. Declaration measures approximately 25.25'' x 29.5'', folded for its original purpose of inclusion in Force's book. A near fine copy - perhaps the best we've seen - with just three small spots of archival tape repair to verso. The rice paper is still supple with virtually no toning.
1843 Force Declaration of Independence From Original Copper Plate -- Near Fine Condition
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