Lot 1: Striking rice paper reproduction of the Declaration of Independence, 26 x 29, printed by Peter Force in 1848 for inclusion in his series American Archives, beginning, In Congress, July 4, 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.'' It has been glued to mount, otherwise, fine condition, with intersecting folds, mild mirroring to ink, and trivial chips and toning to edges. An appealing example of this sought after document. By 1820, the original Declaration of Independence had seriously deteriorated due to inappropriate handling and storage, creating an immediate need for a facsimile reproduction. Commissioned by John Quincy Adams, William J. Stone was to engrave an exact copy of the original Declaration of Independence onto a copperplate, a process which took three years to complete. Stone used a new Wet-Ink transfer process to create a copperplate from which facsimile copies could then be made. By wetting the original document, some of the original ink was transferred to the copperplate, which was then used for printing. There were 201 official parchment copies struck from the Stone plate. These are identified as "Engraved by W. J. Stone for the Department of State, by order" in the upper left corner, followed by "of J. Q. Adams, Sec. of State July 4th 1824" in the upper right corner. Stone kept one copy for himself (this copy now resides in the Smithsonian) and delivered 200 copies to the Department of State. Twenty years later, in 1843, Peter Force was commissioned by Congress to print a series of books-now known as the American Archives-featuring the founding documents of the United States. For the occasion, the Stone engraving was removed from storage and used to produce new copies on rice paper, distinguished from the original by an engraving in the lower left corner ''W.J. Stone S.C. Washn.'' Printed in 1848, each copy was folded into the first volume of the fifth series of books. After printing, the plate was again retired, now residing with the original Declaration at the National Archives. Congress authorized up to 1500 copies of the series to be printed, but subscriptions fell far short of that number. The actual number of copies printed is unknown, with estimates ranging from about 500 to upwards of 1,000. Only a few hundred of Force's printing of the Declaration of Independence are known to exist today.
Oak Auctions' Rare Autograph and Manuscript Auction
Thursday, 19th November 2015
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