Earliest edition of US Declaration of Independence to go on sale | US news

One of the earliest up to date broadside editions of the Declaration of Independence is to go on sale later this 12 months, as half of an public sale of the non-public library of William S. Reese – essentially the most outstanding antiquarian guide vendor of his era.

The gathering of “Invoice” Reese, together with printed works, historic prints, high-quality artwork and colour-plate books, will likely be among the many most dear gross sales of printed Americana in over 50 years, Christie’s stated, giving it a “conservative” pre-sale estimate of $12-18m.

The edition of the Declaration of Independence is probably going the primary edition printed in New England, and matches virtually precisely the typesetting used for the edition printed within the 16 July 1776 concern of the American Gazette.

Solely six copies are recorded extant, with 4 housed in establishments together with Georgetown College, Harvard College, the Massachusetts Historic Society, and the Peabody Essex Museum. It’s estimated to promote for between $1m and $1.5m.


Christina Geirger, head of the books and manuscripts division at Christie’s New York, stated seeing Reese’s non-public library for the primary time “was one of essentially the most thrilling experiences of my life”.

She added: “The books and paintings so clearly embody Invoice’s ardour for historical past, evidenced in each written and visible tradition. The library was a particular place of each sanctuary and journey, of mental rigour and humour, of grandeur and approachability – all these parts held in beautiful steadiness with distinctive style.”

William Reese's library
William Reese assortment in situ. Christina Geirger, head of the books and manuscripts at Christie’s New York, stated seeing Reese’s non-public library for the primary time ‘was one of essentially the most thrilling experiences of my life’. {Photograph}: Christie’s

Born in 1955, Reese was a seminal determine in antiquarian Americana with a eager curiosity in pure historical past, authorities and politics, journey and literature. He based the eponymous William Reese Firm of New Haven, Connecticut, in 1979, and over the subsequent 40 years, the corporate turned the chief within the Americana market.

The antiquarian books agency was located adjoining to the Yale College campus and housed greater than 18,000 gadgets. Reese additionally labored carefully with Yale’s Beinecke Uncommon E-book & Manuscript Library to form its Americana collections. In 1998, he established the Reese Fellowship within the Print Tradition of the Americas, which has provided analysis grants to greater than 150 students.

Different highlights from the public sale embody a duplicate of Paul Revere’s 1770 engraving of the Boston Bloodbath ($250,000 to $300,000), a primary edition of John Smith’s “Common Historical past of Virginia, New England and the Summer season Isles” from 1624 ($300,000 to $500,000), and uncommon editions of John James Audubon and Herman Melville.

A collection of themed dwell and on-line auctions will likely be held in New York starting 25 Could , and highlights from the gathering will likely be unveiled to the general public at an exhibition that opened on Thursday and runs till 28 January, marking the primary time in over 30 years that any portion of the present assortment has been publicly exhibited.

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