Tag Archives: auctions

Our Declaration Auction Sets a Record

The rare first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence we auctioned yesterday brought $632,500—a record price for any historic newspaper. The sale was held with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York City. The newspaper was purchased by David Rubenstein.

The July 6, 1776, edition of the Pennsylvania Evening Post was only the second printing of the Declaration in any form. The copy sold yesterday is one of just four issues of the Post’s Declaration printing that have appeared at auction in the past 50 years. We have handled three of those four copies.

George Washington at Christie’s
Another noteworthy sale took place June 21st at Christie’s, where George Washington’s 1788 letter to John Armstrong endorsing ratification of the Constitution sold for $1,443,750 net. To see our selection of great Washington documents—which includes several important letters—click here.

We have a number of other scare Declaration printings at a variety of price points—just in time for the Fourth of July.

Rare July 1776 Declaration of Independence Broadside
All July 1776 broadside printings of the Declaration are rare and valuable, but this example is exceptionally so. It is the earliest known publication of the Declaration in Massachusetts—the birthplace of the American Revolution—and its unique, four-column format makes it one of the rarest and most interesting of the printings. Including this example, only six copies of this broadside are known, four of which are already in institutional collections.
#21747.99     Price on Request


A Stone/Force Printing of the Declaration
This second edition printing of the first exact facsimile remains one of the best representations of the Declaration as the manuscript looked when it was signed and prior to its nearly complete deterioration. Very little of the original is legible today. Originally bound into Peter Force’s American Archives.
#22929      $28,000

Scarce, Never Folded Stone/Force Declaration
Another Stone/Force print. Copies that were never folded are far more rare on the market than folded ones.
#20728      $45,000

Unfolded Force 450px

America’s Three Founding Documents
A 1791 printing of the Complete Acts of the First Congress, including the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights (which had just been ratified).
#22592      $1,400

1808 Commemorative Printing of the Declaration and Patriotic Songs
This 1808 commemorative printing from the Philadelphia Aurora also contains “Freedom and Peace…Or, The Voice of America. A National Song,” along with other patriotic songs for the occasion.
#23035.01     $700

Declaration of Independence Centennial Printing
The July 8, 1876, issue of Harper’s Weekly, containing a supplement celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, complete with a centerspread facsimile of one of Jefferson’s draft manuscripts and the signatures of the signers, along with related engravings.
#30011.001    $145


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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in General


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Content is King—But Washington Wouldn’t Be


George Washington-associated items have attained record prices at recent auctions. The president’s copy of a book containing a few of his annotations to the U.S. Constitution fetched nearly $10 million at Christies on June 22, 2012. Earlier this month, a letter written by Washington to James McHenry achieved $362,500 at Doyle New York against a reasonable $80,000 to $100,000 estimate. What differentiates this letter from typical Washington autograph letters signed, many of which can be found on the market in the $25,000 to $45,000 range? Certainly, the timing of a letter is important, as is its recipient. But the most important feature imparting value to a letter, especially a George Washington letter, is, in a word, content.

The Doyle letter records the moment when Washington told his trusted friend and aide-de-camp McHenry of his plan to retire from the Continental Army. Washington considered his task complete; independence had been achieved, the Peace of Paris was signed, and the British had finally evacuated from New York City. Washington wanted to retire and return to his beloved Mount Vernon as a private citizen. Less than a month later, he would tender his resignation to the Continental Congress, quelling conspiracies to install him as dictator and earning his reputation as an American Cincinnatus. His relaxation as a country gentleman would be short lived; he returned to public service four years later to join the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia and, as they say, the rest is history.

We have several superior-content George Washington letters including his call for “material change” in the organization of the Continental Army to win what he calls “the prize in view”— independence—as well as more reasonably-priced offerings such as letters where Washington discusses investing in the new city that would ultimately bear his name or a planning an attack on New York City.

We also have letter from Washington to McHenry written ten months after the British surrendered. The Commander in Chief hints at his desire to give up the “occupation of a G—-” [General] and admonishes his friend for failing to respond to an earlier letter. Chiding McHenry “do not…tease your Mistress in this manner,” Washington provides a jocular glimpse behind his typically-stoic façade. This letter will be on display, along with a manuscript draft of the Articles of Confederation and the Treaty of Paris Proclamation, at the Annapolis Continental Congress Festival, November 26-28, 2012. For more information, see

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Posted by on November 16, 2012 in General


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