Peter Force Declaration of Independence to auction

A Peter Force copy of the American Declaration of Independence is to cross the block at Cowan's Auctions on June 21.

William Stone Peter Force
In 1820, William Stone was commissioned to make a facsimile of the original, and somewhat tatty, American Declaration of Independence. The present example was printed using Stone’s resultant copperplate

Peter Force (1790-1868) was a 19th century US politician, historian and archivist, who organised the "American Archives" series in order to bring the American people in contact with those documents which had shaped the lives of their forefathers.

A documentary history of the country, the series was initially planned to comprise more than 20 volumes, with subscriptions for 2,500 copies.

Although Force was commissioned to print the series in 1843, the project was unexpectedly cancelled by secretary of state William Marcy.

Force reconsidered his position and proposed a smaller print run, with subscriptions of 500, which was eventually approved by Congress.

Force's wish to contribute to the American National Library finally came true in 1867, when Congress purchased his collection for $100,000.

It is thought that only approximately 36 of the original 200 vellum documents ordered by Congress remain with us today.

The present example is one of these original 200.

We currently have one of approximately 250 extant rice paper copies of the document, which were also made by Force, in our inventory.

Every one of these documents was created using the historic, first copper plate engraving made from the original hand-written American Declaration of Independence.

Rare, antique Americana is proves extremely popular at auction. In June 2012, a civil war era sword that once belonged to General Ambrose E Burnside sold for $271,000.

For auction updates, sign up for the Paul Fraser Collectibles' free weekly newsletter.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock