PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION

The Declaration of Independence
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 233,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION

The Declaration of Independence
Estimate
150,000250,000
LOT SOLD. 233,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana

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New York

The Declaration of Independence
In Congress, July 4, 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America. When, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissove the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of nature and Nature's GOD entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation. … We, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA … solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connexion between them and the State of Great-Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; and that as FREE and INDEPENDENT STATES, they have fully Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of Right do. And for the Support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of DIVINE PROVIDENCE, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honour. Baltimore, in Maryland: Printed by Mary Katharine Goddard, [January 1777]

Broadside (20 1/2 x 15 in.; 522 x 356 mm). Text in two columns; followed by the printed names of 55 of the 56 Signers (lacking Thomas McKean, who had not yet subscribed), headed by John Hancock, then arranged by state in four columns; followed by the 18 January 1777 Congressional order "That an authenticated Copy of the Declaration of Independence, with the Names of the Members of Congress, subscribing the same, be sent to each of the United States, and they be desired to have the same put on Record"; this copy signed by the president ("A True Copy John Hancock Presdt") and secretary ("Attest Chas Thomson secy") of Congress; washed, mounted on paper several tears and small losses, costing in total portions of about fifteen words, signatures very faded. Framed.


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Provenance

The Courtenay family, resident in Baltimore from about 1763 (inscription by Frances Caroline Courtenay, 28 October 1910, on a preserved fragment of the backing of an earlier frame: "This Declaration of America, after my death, is to be the property of Frank C. Courtenay. It was given to David Courtenay by his sister Elizabeth Courtenay Baltimore Md. with the request that Frank C. Courtenay should it inherit after our death.")

Literature

Evans 15650; Walsh, "Contemporary Broadside Editions of the Declaration of Independence" 19; Wheeler, The Maryland Press 29; Wroth, A History of Printing in Maryland 392

Catalogue Note

A rediscovered copy of the second congressional broadside printing of the Declaration—and the first broadside printing of any kind to include the names of the Signers. In January 1777, Congress was meeting in Baltimore, having been displaced from Pennsylvania. Emboldened by recent military victories at Trenton and Princeton, the Congress ordered that a second printing of the Declaration be issued, this one to include "the names of the members of Congress subscribing to the same." Only the names of John Hancock and Charles Thomson appeared on the first broadside printed by John Dunlap, perhaps because of fears of British reprisals against the colonial revolutionaries. Mary Katharine Goddard, who published The Maryland Journal, printed this broadside edition.

The present copy came to light in 1972, when it was featured on the cover of the 23–30 October issue of AB Bookman's Weekly, which reported that "It was acquired from a private party by Walter R. Benjamin Autographs Inc. by 'private treaty' and sold to another private party." This copy, however, seems to have been forgotten and has not appeared in any census of the Goddard broadside. In addition to this copy—the only one in private hands—ten copies are recorded: the Connecticut State Library; Johns Hopkins University (Garrett Library, Evergreen House); the Library of Congress; the Maryland Hall of Records; the Maryland Historical Society; the Massachusetts Historical Society; the Massachusetts State Archives; the New York Public Library; the Library Company of Philadelphia; and the Rhode Island State Archives.

Fine Books and Manuscripts, Including Americana

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New York