Top 5: Declaration of Independence
5) The Salem Broadside
Several unofficial broadsides printed the Declaration of Independence in July and August 1776, taking details from the official Dunlap broadsides. The Salam broadside was one of the earliest, printed on July 15 or 16. This also represented the first Massachusetts broadside.
A Salam broadside sold for $572,500 at Sotheby’s in June 2010. Around six are known to survive, four of which are in institutions.
4) The Pennsylvania Evening Post printing
After the news of the Declaration spread, newspapers raced to be the first to print it in their pages. The Pennsylvania Evening Post won the race, printing the full text of the Declaration on July 6, 1776. This was technically the second ever printing of the Declaration, and thus quite significant.
A copy of the Pennsylvania Evening Post sold for $722,500 at Sotheby’s in December 2012. This is one of just three to remain with collectors. Another sold for $550,000 at Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries in June 2013.
3) The Boston Broadside
Another unofficial broadside was that of Boston, printed around July 17, 1776. This represented the first Boston, and tenth broadside edition of the Declaration.
An example sold for $722,500 at Christie’s in June 2009.
2) William Stone’s 1823 printing
Due to the fading and poor condition of the original Declaration, in 1820, William Stone was commissioned by then Secretary of State John Quincy Adams to create a copper plate press of the document, which took him three years to complete. From this, official parchment copies were produced in 1823.
Official Stone parchment copies have sold for $597,500 at Heritage Auctions in April 2012, $698,500 at Christie’s in February 2009, and $782,500 at Christie’s in December 2012.
In 1848, Peter Force made several rice paper copies from Stone’s copper plate press, for inclusion in his American Archives: A Documentary History of the United States of America. One of these rice paper copies sold for $19,500 at Robert A Siegel in June 2013.
1) The Dunlap Broadside
The broadsides printed by John Dunlap were the first ever printing of the Declaration. They were commissioned by the Continental Congress, and around 200 were printed through the night on July, 4, 1776, to be sent out across the states the next day.
An original Dunlap broadside sold at Sotheby’s for $8.14 million in June 2000. It is thought that this was one of just four to remain in private hands.
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