University Archives Offers Rare Peter Force Engraving of the Declaration of Independence Printed in 1848

The Peter Force engraving of the Declaration of Independence, with remarkably exact renditions of the signers’ hands. One of the best representations of the original manuscript Declaration, perhaps as few as 500 copies issued. Broadside: “The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.” [Washington: M. St. Clair Clarke and Peter Force, 1848], one page 26″ x 29″, copperplate engraving on thin rice paper. Bid on this item here.  The University Archives Auction Ends December 5, 2018.

By 1820 the original Declaration of Independence (now housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) showed serious signs of age and wear from handling. John Quincy Adams, then Secretary of State, commissioned William J. Stone to engrave an exact copy of the original onto a copper plate. In 1823, Congress ordered 200 official copies printed on vellum. Fewer than 40 of Stone’s printing on vellum are known to have survived, with at least 21 of those housed in institutions and public collections. “These copies are characterized by the legend engraved in the left superior portion of the document which reads, ‘ENGRAVED BY W.I. STONE for the Dept. of State by order,’ and on the right superior portion ‘Of J.Q. Adams, Sec. of State July 4, 1823.’ This legend was removed after the parchment copies were struck and in the lower left quadrant, the engraver placed his name, ‘W.J. Stone, SC WAShnn’” (Coleman, 98). All subsequent exact facsimiles of the Declaration descend from the Stone plate. In 1843 Congress commissioned Peter Force to compile and publish The American Archives. Perhaps using the Stone’s original plate at first, but then most likely a copy plate, Force prepared prints of the Declaration of Independence on special thin rice paper. Congress authorized the printing of 1500 copies of American Archives, but subscriptions for the elaborate edition were disappointing, and in the end many fewer copies—perhaps only 500—were issued. Most, including this copy, were folded and bound into Volume I, Series Five, published in 1848.

Small repairs have been made to the verso of the document as is expected with an item of this age and delicate quality.

Daily/Weekly Auctions

(*) Indicates Auction in Progress
(*) JG Autographs: May 26 - June 1
(*) Steve Novella: May 26 - June 1
(*) Kevin Savage Cards: May 21 - June 2-3
(*) NBA Auctions: May 28 - June 3
(*) Sirius Sports Cards: May 24 - June 3
(*) Steve Novella: May 28 - June 3
(*) Lelands: May 9 - June 4
(*) Detroit City Sports: May 29 - June 5
(*) Goldin Auctions: May 28 - June 5
(*) MEARS Auctions: May 28 - June 5
(*) CollectibleXChange: April 28 - June 6
(*) The Collector Connection: May 19 - June 6
(*) Sirius Coins: May 15 - June 6
(*) Auction of Champions: May 26 - June 7
(*) Kevin Savage Cards: May 27 - June 7
(*) Hindman Auctions: May 17 - June 8
JG Autographs: June 2 - June 8
(*) Clean Sweep Auctions: May 12 - June 9
Kevin Savage Cards: June 1 - June 9-10
(*) MeiGray Auctions: May 24 - June 9-10
NBA Auctions: June 4 - June 10
(*) Iconic Auctions: June 3 - June 12
(*) Classic Auctions: May 24 - June 15
JG Autographs: June 9 - June 15
(*) RR Auction: May 25 - June 16
Kevin Savage Cards: June 4 - June 16-17
(*) Heritage Auctions: May 24 - June 17
NBA Auctions: June 11 - June 17
Sirius Sports Cards: June 7 - June 17
REA: June 10 - June 20
Auction of Champions: June 9 - June 21
Kevin Savage Cards: June 10 - June 21
JG Autographs: June 16 - June 22
Kevin Savage Cards: June 14 - June 23-24
NBA Auctions: June 18 - June 24
RR Auction: June 17 - June 24
Sterling Sports Auctions: June 10 - June 24
Grey Flannel Auctions: June 4 - June 26
Heritage Auctions: June 4 - June 26
Iconic Auctions: June 19 - June 26
Goldin Auctions: June 7 - June 26-27
Pristine Auction: June 1 - June 27
Lelands: June 13 - June 27
Kevin Savage Cards: June 18 - June 28
JG Autographs: June 23 - June 29
Kevin Savage Cards: June 22 - June 30
NBA Auctions: June 25 - July 1
Sirius Sports Cards: June 21 - July 1
MEARS Auctions: June 29 - July 3
Auction of Champions: June 23 - July 5
SCP Auctions: June 23 - July 9
Memory Lane Inc: June 21 - July 10
2021 Full Auction Schedule