Sep 26, 2019 - Sale 2517

Sale 2517 - Lot 90

Price Realized: $ 1,375
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
(DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.) Woodruff, William; engraver. In Congress, July 4th, 1776. The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America. Illustrated engraved broadside, 28 x 21 inches; edge-mounted on early wooden stretchers; foxing and toning, closed tears in image area, dampstaining at edges. Philadelphia: William Woodruff, 1819

Additional Details

Woodruff was apparently employed for a subcontractor for John Binns, who was working on a dramatic new decorative Declaration broadside. Woodruff was so impressed with the Binns design that he raced to press with his own semi-pirated version, with a similar oval border bearing the 13 original state seals topped by three portraits with draped spears and an eagle above. Woodruff swapped in a John Adams portrait in place of John Hancock and used typeset signatures rather than facsimiles. He beat Binns to the market in February 1819, and Binns lost a lawsuit to halt his sale. The example here is apparently Woodruff's second printing, without the "printed by C.P. Harrison" imprint. Woodruff later published a plate of facsimile signatures to accompany the print (not present here). The plate went through several other owners in the 1830s and 1840s, but Bidwell traced no examples of either of the two early states published by Woodruff, and we find only one other at auction, in 1995. Bidwell 4; Hart, Washington 595a.