Rare 1843 Peter Force Declaration Of Independence For Sale
1843 Force Declaration of Independence from the original copper plate by William Stone. Measures approximately 25.5'' x 29'' on rice paper. This offering represents an opportunity to obtain 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. The remaining dozen vellum examples are rarely offered for sale and today typically bring $200,000 or so. In 1843, Peter Force used the original Stone copperplate to print additional copies of the Declaration of Independence on rice paper for inclusion in Volume I of his multi-volume 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 believed that fewer than half of the rice paper copies still exist (of which this is an example) in varying states of preservation. The Stone and Force copies represent an irony: certainly, they allowed additional people and institutions to obtain an identical facsimile of this most beloved of all historic American documents, but Stone's Wet-Ink transfer process contributed to the deterioration of the original signed copy of the Declaration. The parchment did not respond well to water, with the unfortunate result being that the original Declaration of Independence, on display in our nation's capitol, is in a rather sad state of preservation. This Declaration has been folded for its original purpose of inclusion in Force's book and is in overall near fine condition. Document is repaired to verso using archival tape along previous foldlines. A visually stunning example of one of America's most beloved documents.
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