For Sale: Early Edition of the Declaration of Independence
If you have a spare $1 million lying around, you might be able to procure an early edition of the Declaration of Independence.
The document is set to go on sale later this year as part of an auction of the private library of William S. Reese, a prominent antique book dealer.
Christie’s Auction House in New York said Reese’s collection will be among the most valuable sales of printed Americana in the last 50 years, with a “conservative” pre-sale estimate of $12 million-$18 million.
The Declaration of Independence is likely the first edition printed in New England, and only six copies exist. Four are housed in Georgetown University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Peabody Essex Museum. Christie’s estimates its sale price will be between $1 million and $1.5 million.
Christina Geiger, head of the books and manuscripts department at Christie’s, said seeing Reese’s library “was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life.”
“The books and artwork so clearly embody Bill’s passion for history, evidenced in both written and visual culture. The library was a special place of both sanctuary and adventure, of intellectual rigor and humor, of grandeur and approachability — all these elements held in exquisite balance with exceptional taste,” she added.
Other notable items in the auction include a copy of Paul Revere’s 1770 engraving of the Boston Massacre (estimated at $250,000 to $300,000) and a first edition of John Smith’s 1624 General History of Virginia, New England and the Summer Isles ($300,000 to $500,000).