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Estimate: $ 5,000 - $ 7,500
THE FIRST FACSIMILE OF THESE FAMOUS SIGNATURES (DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.) Tyler, Benjamin Owen; calligrapher. In Congress, July 4th 1776.The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America. Engraving on silk, 31 x 24 1/2 inches to sight; moderate dampstaining and foxing, folds. Not examined outside of frame. (MRS) Washington, 1818
The first broadside Declaration of Independence to include facsimile signatures. Tyler's rival, John Binns, was the first to announce such an undertaking and collect subscriptions, but he took more than three years to complete the work. In the meantime, Tyler completed this broadside, even securing a endorsement from the acting Secretary of State Richard Rush, whose departmental seal is engraved into the lower left, along with his note describing the signatures as "curiously exact imitations." The broadside is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson above the title. Tyler made no effort to match the handwriting in the body of the Declaration. He was a writing master by trade who published other examples of his calligraphy; the text is intended to showcase his craft, with selected key words emphasized with ornamental script. He spared no expense on the printing, boasting that he paid $1500 for the copperplate, which was engraved by Peter Maverick of Newark, NJ. Most copies were printed on paper or vellum, and only a very few printed on silk, as with the present example. Bidwell, American History in Image and Text 2, and pages 250-262. Provenance: Sotheby's Nathaniel Stein sale, 25 January 1979, lot 47, to the consignor.
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