[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.), minor fraying and slight traces of browning along the bottom edge, the fine-grained paper with no evidence of folding, in fine condition. Neatly matted and enclosed in a museum-quality gilt- and burlwood frame.
A FINE, UNFOLDED COPY OF PETER FORCE'S 1848 PRINTING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM THE W.J. STONE 1823 COPPERPLATE, ON FINE RICE PAPER
Twenty-five years after Stone's elaborate engraved facsimile on parchment had been printed and distributed (see notes to previous lot), Peter Force (1790-1868) utilized Stone's surviving copperplate to print impressions of the facsimile on fine rice paper with a color tone quite similar 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 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 of 1500 copies of American Archives were authorized by Congress, but in the end, subscriptions for the elaborate edition were disappointing, and in the end many fewer copies (perhaps only 500) were issued. Since copies of Force's Declaration exist both with and without folds, it is probable that a handful, like this one, were never folded for binding (an unfolded copy was sold at Christie's, 18 December 2003, lot 249, $40,000).