Declaration of Independence newspaper auctions for $550,000

Robert A Siegel's auction dedicated to the American Declaration of Independence has seen the first newspaper printing sell well.

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

Held on June 25 in New York, the auction comprised just two lots: the first newspaper printing, which made $550,000, and a Stone-Force facsimile printing, which sold for $19,500.

The Declaration of Independence was first published in The Pennsylvania Evening Post on Saturday July 6, 1776 by Benjamin Towne, with the landmark document having only just been signed on July 4, 1776.

Towne was the second person to print the declaration in any form, narrowly beating John Dunlap's The Pennsylvania Packet by two days.

Copies of the Pennsylvania Evening Post are especially valued as they most closely follow the style that Thomas Jefferson used when writing the document. 

When most American's picture the Declaration of Independence, they imagine the John Hancock-signed copy entitled "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America".

However, this is not the document that was signed on July 4, as the vote was one shy of the desired unanimity due to New York's delegates following instructions and abstaining.

The July 4 document is signed only by Continental Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson.

The Stone-Force printing was engraved by William J Stone in 1823, at the behest of then secretary of state John Quincy Adams, due to the fact that the document was showing signs of wear.

200 official copies were printed on vellum, while the majority were published in Peter Force's American Archives: A Documentary History of the United States of America.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a fantastic example of the Stone-Force printing, of which only 250 are known to have survived.

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