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    Benjamin Owen Tyler: Declaration of Independence Broadside. In the aftermath of the War of 1812, there had arisen in America a resurgence of patriotism and nationalism. People had begun to revere the famous document that declared the nation's independence nearly forty years earlier as many of its original signers were aging and dying. The original Declaration of Independence was still available for viewing, but only to the privileged. An Irish-born Philadelphia journalist and publisher of The Democratic Press named John Binns was one of the first to realize, in June of 1816, the potential market for a "splendid and correct copy of the Declaration of Independence." He promised delivery in one year, but the enormity of the undertaking delayed publication until 1819, by which time his competitor, Benjamin Owen Tyler, taking advantage of the attention that Binns had garnered, rushed a less elaborate facsimile of his own into production.

    Measuring 22.75" x 30.5" (sight), this is the first engraved copy of the Declaration (and the first to feature facsimile signatures), engraved by Peter Maverick, and "Copied from the original Declaration of Independence in the Department of State, and Published by Benjamin Owen Tyler Professor of Penmanship, City of Washington 1818." Tyler dedicated his copy to Declaration author Thomas Jefferson with an inscription along the upper edge reading: "To Thomas Jefferson, Patron of the Arts, the firm supporter of American Independence, and the Rights of Man, the Charter of our Freedom is, with the highest esteem, most Respectfully Inscribed by his much Obliged and very Humbled Servant Benjamin Owen Tyler." At the lower left corner is found an engraved testimonial by then-Acting Secretary of State Richard Rush: "The foregoing copy of the declaration of Independence, has been collated with the original instrument and found correct. I have, myself, examined the signatures to each. Those executed by Mr Tyler are curiously exact imitations; so much so that it would be difficult if not impossible of the closest scrutiny to distinguish them, were it not for the hand of time, from the originals."

    The document has numerous folds and two tears originating at the upper edge. One large tear at the lower right corner measures 13.5" and runs through the names at the right edge with some paper loss near the corner. Areas of light staining throughout.

    Though he originally claimed to have 3,000 orders, Tyler's subscription book, which resides in the Albert H. Small Declaration of Independence Collection at the University of Virginia, has just over 1,000 names and "recorded the distribution of copies of his ornamental engraving to Thomas Jefferson, James, Madison, John Quincy Adams, and other prominent figures." (Declaring Independence, p. 80.)

    Beautifully matted and framed to an overall size of 32.75" x 40.25"

    Reference: Declaring Independence: The Origin and Influence of America's Founding Document. University of Virginia Press, 2010.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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