We all know the famous Declaration of Independence. From grade schoolers reciting the line “We hold these truths to be self-evident” to the historians who unpack our fore father’s initial intentions for this nation, this text no doubt stands as on of the most synonymous with the image of today’s America.
So when a rare copy of the text was recently put up for sale at Freeman’s Auction in Scotland, it was more than certain that there’d be plenty of patriotic bidders willing to cough up a hefty wager.
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Manuscript expert Cathy Marsden was tasked to peruse through a pile of ancient documents that were collecting dust in her client’s ancestral estate. She was beyond surprised when she discovered the centuries old document shoved within the pile.
“I was looking through a pile of papers which had been brought down from the attic, amongst which was a folded-up vellum document,” the Lyon & Turnbull auction house specialist explains in a video for the company’s website.
Out of the two hundred one copies that were reportedly made, there’s only a mere forty eight that are still known to exist. TMZ cites that only six copies are currently within private possession. This makes Marsden’s lucky find more than enough to gawk at!
“I was thinking, yes, this document,” she continues, “which was found in an attic in this family home in Scotland and had been brought out as something curious and interesting, looks like it is really special.”
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The document was printed by 19th century senator William J. Stone. It was one of two that was sent to Catholic Founding Father and U.S Senator Charles Carroll in 1824. The other copy is housed at the Maryland Center for History and Culture.
On Thursday, the copy made a record breaking sale from the Philadelphia based Freeman Auction House. The highest bidder payed a nearly $4.4 million to walk away with the iconic document. The Philadelphia Inquirer states that the sale stands as the highest priced documents to be printed by William J. Stone.
It also ranks as the second priciest copy of the Declaration in American history. The top spot went to the John Dunlap’s 1776 printing of the document that sold for $8.14 million in 2000 NYC auction.
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Sources: New York Post, TMZ, The Philadelphia Inquirer
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