August 2019 Auction Ends Thursday, August 29th, 5pm Pacific


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1833 copy of the Force Declaration of Independence from the original copper plate created by William Stone, who created the earliest copies of the Declaration of Independence in 1823. In 1823, Congress authorized the production of copies of the Declaration of Independence to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the signing. 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 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, a very small percentage still exist with nearly all of them residing in museums.

Ten years later, in 1833, Peter Force used William Stone's copperplate to print additional copies of the Declaration of Independence on rice paper for inclusion in his book, ''American Archives''. The series was to total 20 volumes, but the cost of the set was prohibitive for most Americans and printing was stopped short. It's unknown how many Declarations were printed but it's believed that most were destroyed, apart from the small number that were printed and sold. The Force Declaration is the oldest Declaration apart from the original and the Stone copies, and bears the ''W.J. STONE SC[ULPSIT] WASHN.'' at lower left from the original copperplate. Declaration measures 25.5'' x 29'', folded for its original purpose of inclusion in Force's book. A near fine, bright copy with virtually no toning and no separation along folds.
1833 Force Declaration of Independence From Original Copper Plate -- Near Fine Condition
1833 Force Declaration of Independence From Original Copper Plate -- Near Fine Condition
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