Rare and Historically Important Contemporary Broadside Printing of the Declaration of Independence, likely [Exeter, New Hampshire: Robert Luist Fowle, July, 1776], State b, two-column format, lacking imprint, sheet size approx. 19 5/8 x 15 1/8 in., 500 x 380 mm.
Sotheby's Checklist 12; Walsh 15; Bristol B4408; with the final three lines reset, including correction to "Hancock."
Provenance: Descended in a New Hampshire family, whose relative, a judge, likely received this document in his official capacity. The water stain occurred in connection to a fire. Thankfully, this rare and important document was saved for posterity. These early broadside printings of the Declaration, arguably one of the most famous documents ever conceived, represent the spark that finally ignited the smoldering powder keg of colonial resentment and desire for independence that led to the Revolutionary War. There are few documents still in existence that so summarily changed the course of modern history. Due to the transient nature of paper, and the heavy handling these broadsides would have received, according to the most recent data, there are believed to be fewer than 103 of any date still known to exist. This lot is only the sixth known of this printing in either state.
Note: This document was recently treated by the New England Document Conservation Center. A report on this treatment accompanies the lot.
Deckled edges with minor chewing. Upper left corner with approx. 1 3/4 x 1 3/4 in. loss. spotting to upper edge and lower edge around center fold. faint water staining throughout. Minor repairs to separation at center and lower center margin. minor splits to sides. Three pin holes to corners. Two burn marks and minor separation to center, with minor loss to two letters of text. Small hole to center to right of line 2, with loss to one letter.