[Thomas Jefferson]. [William Stone, engraver]. The Declaration of Independence. [Washington, D. C.: circa 1833]. Copper-plate engraving for Peter Force and originally issued in the first volume of his American Archives (published 1837-1853). Single oversized sheet, measuring approximately 25.25 x 29.5 inches. Thin rice paper, folded, as issued. Some paper loss along center vertical fold, including a .5 x 1.75 inches diamond-shaped piece at middle horizontal fold with corresponding loss of paper and short, clean closed tear at upper edge, minor fold separation otherwise; faint offsetting to the text, as often found; minor foxing along left edge. Very good.

    In 1820, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned William Stone to engrave an exact copy of the United States Declaration of Independence, in order to preserve the deteriorating manuscript. Stone used a wet-ink transfer process to create an exact facsimile, causing further damage to the original. The process took three years to complete, and, in 1824, 201 official parchment copies of the utmost fidelity were printed. Stone delivered 200 of them to the Department of State, and kept one for himself (a copy that now resides in the Smithsonian). In 1833, Congress authorized an ambitious attempt to compile and publish the founding documents of the United States, together with legislative records and historic private correspondence, in what would eventually become Peter Force's American Archives, a Documentary History of the English Colonies in North America. Of a planned twenty volumes, nine were published, covering the years 1774-1776. In order to include an exact replica of the Declaration, Force ordered the second print run on Stone's copper plate. It is estimated as few as 500 copies were produced.

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    Auction Dates
    March, 2017
    8th Wednesday
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