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Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)
Revolution and Founding Fathers (1765 - 1784)

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Declaration of Independence — One of First English Printings, Boldly Publishing Complete Unadulterated Text

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Book. The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure. August 1776. London: John Hinton, [early September, 1776]. Pp 57-111 plus plate. 5 x 8½. Disbound.

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“A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people”

Item #23642, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The Declaration of Independence - Early British Printing of the “substance” Sanitized to Be Less Offensive to “a great person” (the King)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Pamphlet. The London Magazine, Or, Gentleman’s Monthly Intelligencer, for August, 1776. London, printed for R. Baldwin. [September, 1776]. Octavo, disbound, without wrappers. Trimmed close on title page, but text entirely intact. Clean & crisp. One old paper repair above the text on final page. With 2 plates showing British antiquities. The last page (448) contains an early British excerpt of the Declaration of Independence taken from the London Gazette. Also of war preparations by General Howe.

Articles include “A Portrait of the present Mode of Female Education,” “Parliamentary History,” “Anecdote of Henry IV of France,” “Reflections on the married State, by a Lady,” “Cautions to young Ladies,” “Happy Effects of Temperance,” “Observations on Soame Jenyn’s View of the internal Evidence of the Christian Religion,” “On Circumspection in licensing public houses” [ie, bars], and more.

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“The Congress next recite a number of proceedings detrimental to the colonies, most of which have been already mentioned, at different times, from the resolutions of their several assemblies, with this difference, that they now attribute the oppressions to a great person, instead of the ministry and parliament, as at their former meetings.”

Item #24366, $2,750

The First Newspaper to Print the Declaration of Independence Attempts to Make Sense of the Connecticut Constitution (SOLD)

[CONNECTICUT], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Evening Post, Philadelphia, Pa., July 27, 1776. 4 pp., 7¾ x 9½ in.

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“A Succinct Account of the Constitution of the Free and Independent State of Connecticut” occupies the entire front page.

Item #23147, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The Declaration of Independence
The Official Massachusetts Broadside (SOLD)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. “Salem, Massachusetts-Bay: Printed by E. [Ezekiel] Russell, by Order of Authority,” ca. July 20, 1776. Approximately 15¾ x 19¾ in.

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Item #22379, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The Declaration of Independence –
Rare July 1776 Boston Printing (SOLD)

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, The New-England Chronicle, July 18, 1776, Vol. VIII No. 413. Newspaper, with the entire text of the Declaration on page 1 of 4. Subscriber’s name “Mr Jacob Willard” written at top of page 1. Boston: Printed by Powars & Willis.

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Item #21074, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The Declaration of Independence – Rare July 1776 Massachusetts Spy Printing with Paul Revere Masthead (SOLD)

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, Newspaper. The Massachusetts Spy, Or, American Oracle of Liberty. Published by Isaiah Thomas, printed by W. Stearns and D. Bigelow, Worcester, Mass., July 17, 1776. Vol. 6, no. 273.

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“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

This issue of Worcester’s Massachusetts Spy is one of the most attractive and displayable contemporary newspaper printings of the Declaration of Independence. In addition to having the complete text on page one, the elaborate masthead—unusual for the period—was engraved by Paul Revere and features an image of Liberty seated with a pole and cap. The motto, “Undaunted by Tyrants we’ll DIE or be FREE” makes clear the newspaper’s fervent support of the patriotic cause. The Spy gave many in “western Massachusetts” their first view of America’s immortal founding document – even before it became ‘unanimous.’[1]

Item #23800, SOLD — please inquire about other items

John Hancock’s Letter Proclaiming Independence, and Sending the Declaration to Georgia

JOHN HANCOCK, Letter Signed, text in a secretarial hand (likely Jacob Rust), to the Convention of Georgia [Council of Safety], Philadelphia, July 8, 1776, 2 pages, 8 x 12⅝ in. on the first leaf of a bifolium.

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Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve all Connection between Great Britain & the American Colonies, and to declare them free and independent States....

The important Consequences to the American States from this Declaration of Independence, considered as the Ground & Foundation of a future Government, will naturally suggest the Propriety of proclaiming it in such a Manner, that the People may be universally informed of it.

Hancock sent similar letters to each of the thirteen original states. All five that can be located today (Georgia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Hampshire) have previously sold. The present example was first recorded at auction in 1899, in the estate auction of the preeminent collector of his day. It last changed hands privately more than 50 years ago.

The Declaration copies that Hancock sent with these letters are known as Dunlap Broadsides, after John Dunlap, who spent the night of July 4-5 printing them. The broadsides – single pages with all the information printed on one side – were all unsigned. Even so, the last Dunlap broadside to change hands sold for more than $20 million.

The original manuscript document that Hancock and Charles Thomson signed on July 4th has not been seen since.

Even the “National Treasure” document in the National Archives came later; it was penned after New York changed its instructions to allow the vote for Independence to be retroactively unanimous, and the signers’ “John Hancocks” were affixed on or after August 2.

Note that we will offer a generous discount to any buyer willing to bring the letter back to Georgia, or to place it in an appropriate museum or library.

Item #26034, PRICE ON REQUEST

General Washington Orders Declaration of Independence Read to Army in New York

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Manuscript Orderly Book. Headquarters [New York City], [July 8, 1776 – August 21, 1776]. Containing two overlapping sequences in different hands: one 145-page sequence runs from July [9], 1776 to August 21, 1776, and another 13-page segment (written from the other end of the book) runs from July 8-13, 1776. 158 pp. 7½ x 6 in. Both versions vary slightly from the published text of Washington’s General Orders of July 9. This volume, with Brigade and Regimental orders, was either kept by battalion adjutant Aaron Comstock or an orderly sergeant in one of Gold S. Silliman’s eight companies enlisted in Connecticut shortly before. This is likely the battalion’s first orderly book after arriving in New York with approximately 415 men.

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the Honble Continental Congress … haveing been plead to Desolve Connection Between this country & great Britain & to declare the united Colonys of North America free & Independent States the Several Brigades are to be Drawn us [up] this Evening on their Respective Parades at 6 oclock when the Deleration of Congress Shewing the grounds & Reasons of the Measures to be Read with Laudable [audible] Voice the genl [George Washington] Hopes that this important Point will serve as a fresh incentive to Every officer and soldier to act with fidelity & courage as knowing that now the Peace and Safety of this country Depends under god solely on the success of our arms....” (July 9, 1776)

the gel being informed to his great surprize that a Report prevails & Industrously spread far and wide that Lord how [British General Lord William Howe] has made <145> Propositions of Peace Calculated by disguiseing Persons most Probably To Lull us into a fatal Security his Duty obliges him to Declare that No such offer has been made by Lord how but on the Contrarary from the Best inteligence he can Procure the army may Expect atack as soon as the wind and tide proves favorable He hopes theirfore every mans mind & arms may be Prepared for action and when caled to it shew our enemies & the whole world that free men Contendin for their own Land are Superior to any Mercenaries on Earth.... (August 20th 1776)

Remarkable manuscript book containing two separate versions of Washington’s General Orders of July 9, 1776, announcing to the Continental Army in New York that Congress had formally declared the 13 colonies to be independent of Great Britain. Of course, Washington’s name is notably absent on the Declaration of Independence, as he was in New York preparing to face the music of the inevitable British invasion.

Item #21461.99, $115,000

The Declaration of Independence:
The First Newspaper Printing, the Second Publication in Any Form and the First to Closely Follow Thomas Jefferson’s Style (SOLD)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Evening Post, Saturday, July 6, 1776, Philadelphia: Benjamin Towne, 4 pages (8½ x 10 in.)

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Item #DOI - 7-6-1776, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The Declaration of Independence
Rare Broadside Printed and Posted in July, 1776

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Broadside. [Exeter, New Hampshire: attributed Robert Luist Fowle], [ca. July 16-19, 1776], two-column format, sheet size approx. 15⅛ x 19⅝ in. Pin holes in three corners, with the upper-left corner torn in approx the same position, indicates that this was posted publicly to spread the momentous news.

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Broadsides such as this fanned the flames of independence. Passed from hand to hand, read aloud at town gatherings, or posted in public places, broadsides (single pages with print only one side) were meant to quickly convey news. Including the present copy, there are fewer than a dozen examples of this Exeter, N.H. printing known. Pin holes in three corners and the torn upper-left corner suggest this example was posted publicly.

In a way, this Declaration broadside is even more “original” than the signed manuscript pictured by most Americans. This is not yet “The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States,” but rather “A Declaration, by the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress assembled.” On July 4,  New York’s delegation abstained from voting for independence. After replacing their delegates, New York joined the other 12 colonies.

Moreover, as here on the broadside, the July 4 Declaration was signed by only two men: Continental Congress President John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson (here with the common variant “Thompson”). After New York came on board, Congress resolved on July 19 to have the Declaration engrossed with a new title: “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” Most of the 56 signers affixed their names on the engrossed document on August 2, 1776, with some added even later.

Thus, broadsides such as this one preserve the text of the Declaration of Independence as it actually was issued in July of 1776.

Item #21991.99, PRICE ON REQUEST

Pennsylvania Magazine, June 1776, Prints July 2, 1776 Resolution Declaring Independence - One of Only Two Contemporary Publications (SOLD)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Pennsylvania Magazine: or American Monthly Museum. For June 1776. Philadelphia: R. Aitken, [ca. July 4-6, 1776]. [249]-296 (48 pp.), 5¼ x 8¼ in., lacking fold out map.

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“July 2. this day the Hon. Continental Congress declared the UNITED COLONIES FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.”

Among the first printed notices of the Declaration of Independence’s passage, The Pennsylvania Magazine: or American Monthly Museum, edited by Thomas Paine, held the June issue past its July 3 publication date, allowing notice of this important Congressional action to appear.

Item #23750.01, SOLD — please inquire about other items

The First Published Announcement of Independence (SOLD)

[DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Evening Post, Tuesday, July 2, 1776, (vol. II, no. 226). Philadelphia: Printed by Benjamin Towne. Prints notice of the July 2nd Independence resolution on the final page. 4 pp. 8¾ in. x 10 7/8 in.

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“This day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States.”

Item #23205, SOLD — please inquire about other items

“Cato” (William Smith, first Provost of College of Philadelphia) Opposes Common Sense, and “Cassandra” (Penn’s Professor of Mathematics) Answers

[THOMAS PAINE], Newspaper. The Pennsylvania Ledger: Or the Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, & New-Jersey Weekly Advertiser, April 13, 1776. Including Cato’s Letter VI, “To the People of Pennsylvania,” attacking Common Sense on political and religious grounds. This issue also prints the first part of Letter II by “Cassandra” [James Cannon]. Philadelphia: James Humphreys Jr. 4 pp., 10 x 16 in.

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you have only entertained us with some loose declamations upon abuses in the English government; and shocked us, for want of better arguments, by a perversion of things sacred; filling the papers with personal invectives, and calumnies against all who cannot swallow, at a venture, every crude notion, you may cook up as the politics of the day. This will as little agree with the stomachs of others as with mine; although I have declared that, when the last necessity comes, I have no expedient in view but to take my chance with you, for better and for worse.

Liberty or Slavery is now the question. Let us but fairly discover to the inhabitants of these Colonies on which side Liberty has erected her banner and we will leave it to them to determine whether they would choose Liberty tho’ accompanied with war, or Slavery attended by peace.

Item #25382, $1,600

John Hancock Signed 1776 Privateering Act

JOHN HANCOCK, Printed Document Signed as President of the Continental Congress. Instructions to the commanders of Private Ships of Vessels of War, which shall have Commissions or Letters of Marque and Reprisals, authorizing them to make Captures of British Vessels and Cargoes. [Philadelphia: printed by John Dunlap], dated in text April 3, 1776 [signed between April 3, 1776 and October, 1777]. 1 p., 8¾ x 13½ in. Framed to 24½ x 22½ in.

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The March 23, 1776 resolve of the Continental Congress to empower privateers, was a momentous step in the run-up to the Declaration of Independence. Congress had founded a Navy the previous fall, but had few funds to build it, and thus relied heavily on privateers to harass British shipping. “You may, by Force of Arms, attack, subdue, and take all Ships and other Vessels belonging to the Inhabitants of Great-Britain, on the High Seas.”

Item #23701.99, $30,000

Washington Drives the British from Boston; Congress Authorizes Arming Vessels to Take British Prizes (SOLD)

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Newspaper. Pennsylvania Evening Post. Philadelphia, Pa., Benjamin Towne. March 26, 1776. 4 pp., (pp. 151-154) 8½ x 10½ in.

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A report of General Clinton’s landing in North Carolina, extracts of letters regarding troop movements, two letters from George Washington, to Congress and Lord Sterling, reporting his success in taking Dorchester Heights and affecting a British evacuation of Boston, account of defeat of Scots Highlander loyalists at Moore’s Creek Bridge, North Carolina, extracts from congressional votes regarding troop organization and nomination of officers, and a congressional extract authorizing the creation of a navy since “the petition of these United Colonies to the King for the redress of great and manifest grievances have . . . been rejected.”

Item #23207.10, SOLD — please inquire about other items

A Small Receipt for Big Items:
Cartridges and Ammunition (SOLD)

[SIEGE OF BOSTON], Autograph Document Signed by Samuel Nason, Quartermaster. Materiel Receipt from Samuel Leighton. [Cambridge, Mass.], docketed January 1, 1776, 1 p.

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Item #20632.15, SOLD — please inquire about other items

A New Year’s Inventory of Each Soldier’s
“Cartridges, Loose Ball, Powder, and Flints” (SOLD)

[SIEGE OF BOSTON], Manuscript Document. Inventory by Samuel Leighton of the ammunition held by 40 men. ca. January 1, 1776. 1 p. (plus ciphering notes on two more pages; one note giving the 1 January date).

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Item #20632.09, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Massachusetts Militia Pay Petition Listing 27 Minutemen
Who Responded to the Lexington Alarm

[REVOLUTIONARY WAR], Manuscript Document, Dorchester, Massachusetts, December 30th, 1775, addressed to Massachusetts Treasurer Henry Gardner. 1p. 8 x 13 in. Likely Drury’s retained copy from the time, with the signatures all in one hand, though some may be signed with marks & Jonathan Hemenway has signed himself.

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A scarce petition for pay listing 44 members of Captain Luke Drury’s Company, 27 of whom were Grafton, Massachusetts-area Minutemen who had marched 36 miles to respond to the Lexington-Concord Alarm on April 19-21, 1775. The list includes Fortune Burnee, a Minuteman of African American and Native American heritage, and his half-brother, Joseph Anthony, who enlisted on April 29th and died in service. Another of the Minutemen listed is the famous clockmaker Aaron Willard.

Item #20781.03, $8,500

Two Days Before Christmas, 26 Soldiers in Leighton’s Company Receive Money to Purchase Coats (SOLD)

[SIEGE OF BOSTON], Manuscript Document Signed by 26 soldiers. Materiel Receipt from Samuel Leighton. Cambridge, Mass., December 23, 1775, 1 p.

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Item #20632.14, SOLD — please inquire about other items

Siege of Boston Minutemen Pay Scale (SOLD)

LUKE DRURY, Manuscript Document Signed (“Luke Drury Capn”), 1 p, folio, Dorchester, 20 December 1775, pay scale with calculations from one to ten days for Privates, Corporals, 1st and 2nd Lieutenants, Sergeants and the Captain; mild browning and a few brown stains.

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Captain Luke Drury of Grafton had commanded a company of Minutemen since 1773. Hearing news of the Lexington Alarm, Drury and his men began the 36-mile march to Cambridge. They arrived on the morning of April 20, 1775, to join an army of volunteers from across Massachusetts. Drury’s company was soon incorporated into a Continental Army regiment under Col. Jonathan Ward, and stationed on the lines at Dorchester. On June 17, 1775, they fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill (Breed’s Hill), with at least one man, Samuel Heard, being killed. Also serving under Drury that day was Aaron Heath, who later recalled: “I fired thirty-two rounds at the red-coats.” Though Washington feared his army would disband when enlistments expired at year’s end, many of Drury’s men reenlisted on January 1, 1776. Drury’s men next took part in the March 4, 1776 overnight seizure of Dorchester Heights – the celebrated action that forced the British to evacuate Boston.

Item #20993.10, SOLD — please inquire about other items
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