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Antiques and Fine Art Auctions Blog

Skinner expert appraisers and auctioneers discuss antiques, fine art, and collectibles. Keep up on market trends and get collecting tips from antiques experts. Discover the stories behind the art and antiques Skinner offers at auction.

Rare Declaration of Independence Broadside in Skinner Auction of Fine Books & Manuscripts

BOSTON, Mass. – Oct. 29, 2010 – Skinner, Inc. will host its annual auction of Fine Books and Manuscripts on November 14th in its Boston gallery, located at 63 Park Plaza at 11 a.m. The sale boasts 685 lots of correspondences, first edition books, maps, Audubon prints and more.

Skinner is thrilled to offer a rare and historically important contemporary broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence. Likely printed in Exeter, New Hampshire by the printer John Luist Fowle, this broadside is one of only six known copies of its type in existence. The document, descended from a New Hampshire family, whose relative, a judge, likely received it in his official capacity, is estimated at $300,000 to $500,000.

According to Sara Wishart, Director Pro Tem at Skinner, “The last Declaration of Independence broadside Skinner sold was in 2008 for $625,000.” Wishart continued, “The broadside being offered on November 14th has descended through one family, and is an amazing historical survival. The rarity of this broadside is astounding, and we’re anticipating great interest from a number of bidders.”

A complimentary work also up for bid is an original broadside printed by the Second Continental Congress, declaring the necessity to take up arms against the British government. The document acts as a warning to the English Crown, and encapsulates the frustrations that were building in the Colonies. This prescient document was printed in New York on July 6, 1775, almost exactly one year earlier than the Declaration of Independence. This historic broadside is estimated at $40,000 to $60,000 and comes from a private New York collector.

Also of note is an important group of first edition works by Edward S. Curtis, from his series The North American Indian. Being a Series of Volumes Picturing and Describing The Indians of the United States, The Dominion of Canada, and Alaska. The stirring and hauntingly beautiful photographic images within this series have become truly iconic. Curtis’ important work chronicled the myths, languages, and cultural nuances of various tribes, and are an important historic record. Sold to benefit a New York state library, the group comprises eight lots of folio and quarto volumes, with estimates totaling $160,000 to $250,000. This is one of the largest offering of Curtis’ work ever brought to auction.

Other works to be highlighted include important world and North American maps dating back to the late 1500s, a rare first edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita, fine decorative bindings, and works by John James Audubon.


Previews, Catalogs and Bidding

Previews for the auction will be held by appointment only on Thursday, November 11th from 12 to 5 p.m., Friday, November 12th from 12 to 5 p.m., Saturday, November 13th from 12 to 5 p.m., and Sunday, November 14th from 9 to 11 a.m. Illustrated catalog #2526B is available by mail for $35 ($42 for foreign requests) from the subscription department at 508-970-3240. It is also available at the gallery for $32. Prices realized will be available at during and after the sale. Skinner’s site also allows users to view all lots in the auctions, leave bids, order catalogs, and bid live in real-time through Skinner-Live. Register here for real-time bidding or call 508-970-3000.


About Skinner

Skinner, Inc. is one of the world’s leading auction houses for antiques and fine art. With expertise in over 20 specialty collecting areas, Skinner draws the interest of buyers from all over the world and its auctions regularly achieve world record prices. Skinner provides a broad range of auction and appraisal services, and it is widely regarded as one of the most trusted names in the auction business. Skinner’s appraisal experts regularly appear on the PBS-TV series, Antiques Roadshow, and its specialty departments include American Furniture & Decorative Arts, American & European Paintings & Prints, European Furniture & Decorative Arts, 20th Century Design, Fine Ceramics, Fine Jewelry, Couture, Fine Musical Instruments, Asian Works of Art, Fine Wines, Rare Books & Manuscripts, Oriental Rugs & Carpets, American Indian & Ethnographic Art, Fine Judaica, Antique Motor Vehicles, Toys, Dolls & Collectibles, Discovery and Science, Technology & Clocks. Skinner galleries are located in Boston and Marlborough, Mass. For more information on upcoming auctions and events, visit Skinner’s web site




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