Lot 82 - Peter Force Declaration of Independence
An exceptionally rare Peter Force engraving of The Declaration of Independence
Printed in 1848, this rare copperplate engraving of one of history’s most important documents is presented in fine condition. Measuring 26” x 29”, the remarkable detailed page is handsomely floated and framed to an overall size of 33” x 37”.
In 1820 the U.S Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned a new engraving of the Declaration, to commemorate the country’s 45th anniversary. The task was presented to the English-born master engraver William J. Stone, who spent three years creating an intricate and exact copy from the original document.
In 1823, 200 copies were printed on vellum and presented to members of the U.S Senate, the Department of State, the Treasury and numerous other influential political figures. Copies were also given to Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Charles Carroll – the three remaining men whose signatures had graced the original.
Today less than 40 of these documents remain in existence, with 21 copies residing in the collections of national institutions. Several of these copies have previously sold at auction for in excess of $250,000, and the original copperplate engraving is housed in the American National Archives.
In 1843 the notable politician and historian Peter Force was commissioned by Congress to compile and publish The American Archives. Using a copy of the original William J. Stone engraving, he prepared 1,500 copies of the Declaration on delicate rice paper to be included in the archives which were sold by subscription.
Approximately one third of these 1,500 copies were ever issued, due to disappointing sales. The copies of the Declaration were carefully folded and included in Volume One, Series Five of the archives in 1848.
This exceptional, well-presented document originates from one such copy of the 1848 archives.
End Date: 2012-05-24 19:30:00