Declaration of Independence auction to star $770,000 newspaper

Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries will hold an auction dedicated to the Declaration of Independence on June 25 in New York, led by the first newspaper printing announcing the declaration.

Newspaper Declaration of Independence
This version is 'more original than the original', being truer to Thomas Jefferson's original text than the engrossed manuscript signed by John Hancock

The newspaper printing was the second publication of America's most important document in any form, and the first to closely follow Thomas Jefferson's style.

Published in The Pennsylvania Evening Post on July 6, 1776, the example at auction is valued at $500,000-750,000.

The document preserves the text of the Declaration of Independence as it was first written and read in July 1776. For this reason, it is considered even more original than the engrossed manuscript copy in the National Archives, which was actually signed by John Hancock and 55 others on August 2.

The July 6 publication was almost preceded by John Dunlap's broadside The Pennsylvania Packet, though it eventually beat it by two days.

Another example of The Pennsylvania Evening Post printing sold at Sotheby's in December 2012 for $722,500, rising 80.6% past its $400,000 high estimate and spelling good things for the present sale.

Also selling is an 1848 Peter Force printing of the remarkable document, which was printed from the exact copy of the original commissioned by John Quincy Adams. It will sell with a $15,000-20,000 estimate.

By 1820, the original document was showing signs of wear, having been eagerly handled by legions of America's leading figures. John Quincy Adams, the secretary of state, was concerned about its condition and commissioned William J Stone to produce the facsimile on a copper plate.

Congress then ordered 200 copies from Stone. All subsequent reproductions of the declaration come from Stone's copper plate, with the Peter Force printing the second edition and one of the best representations of the original manuscript.

Paul Fraser Collectibles also has a fantastic copy of the 1848 Peter Force Declaration of Independence for sale.

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