[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... [Washington, D.C., engraved by W.I. Stone, 1823, printed by Peter Force, 1848].
Folio broadside (30¾ x 25 7/8 in.), UNFOLDED and with full margins. Very minor cockling, extreme edges of the sheet darkened, light dampstain mainly to lower right, lower left corner abraded.
A FINE, UNFOLDED COPY OF PETER FORCE'S 1848 PRINTING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, FROM THE ORIGINAL W.J. STONE 1823 PLATE
Twenty-five years after Stone's elaborate engraved facsimile on parchment had been printed and distributed, Peter Force (1790-1868) utilized Stone's surviving copperplate to print new impressions on fine rice paper, close in color and texture to parchment. These were intended for inclusion in Force's American Archives, a planned monumental compilation of important original American documents, prepared at the instigation of and funded by Congress. Force conscientiously deleted Stone's 1823 imprint in the upper portion of the plate, and added a new imprint ("W.J. Stone sc. Washington.") in the lower left. A total edition of 1,500 copies of American Archives was authorized by Congress, but subscriptions for the elaborate (and very bulky!) edition were disappointing, so in the end far fewer copies (perhaps only 500) were actually issued. Since copies of Force's Declaration exist both with and without folds, it is likely that a handful were never folded for binding (one unfolded copy was sold at Christie's, 18 December 2003, lot 249, $40,000).