Seth Kaller, Inc.

Inspired by History

Other Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784) Offerings


Declaration of Independence ca. 1833 Scarce Exact Facsimile (SOLD)
Click to enlarge:

[PETER FORCE]. “In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Broadside, copperplate engraving printed on thin wove paper. Imprint at bottom left, “W. J. Stone Sc Washn” [Washington DC: Department of State, ca. 1843-1848]. Approx. 26 x 30”.

Inventory #21887       SOLD — please inquire about other items

By 1820 the original Declaration of Independence (now housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.) showed signs of age and wear from handling.  John Quincy Adams, then Secretary of State, commissioned William J. Stone to engrave an exact copy of the original onto a copper plate.  It took three years to complete.

In 1823 Congress ordered 200 official copies printed on vellum and distributed to signers of the Declaration, the families of signers, Lafayette, the President, and other public servants and public institutions. It has become known as the “Stone” version, distinguishable by its legend at the top left, “Engraved by W.J. Stone for the Dept. of State by order,” continued on the top right: “of J. Q. Adams, Sec of State July 4, 1823.”

After completing the first edition, Stone’s imprint was removed from the top, and replaced with one at bottom left, just below George Walton’s printed signature: “W. J. Stone Sc Washn,” as seen on this document.  A very small number of copies were then printed on paper.

By 1843, Congress commissioned Peter Force to compile and publish The American Archives.  Using the Stone plate or a copy of the Stone Declaration to create another copper plate, Force prepared 1,500 copies of the Declaration of Independence on thin wove paper, most of which were folded and bound into Volume I, Series Five, published in 1848. 

The Force printing remains one of the best representations of the Declaration as the manuscript looked over 150 years ago, prior to its deterioration due to handling and the ravages of time.