Earliest edition of US Declaration of Independence to go on sale | US news

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One of many earliest modern broadside editions of the Declaration of Independence is to go on sale later this yr as a part of an public sale of the non-public library of William S Reese, essentially the most outstanding antiquarian guide supplier of his era.

The gathering of “Bill” Reese, together with printed works, historic prints, effective artwork and colour-plate books, will likely be among the many most precious gross sales of printed Americana in over 50 years, Christie’s stated, giving it a “conservative” pre-sale estimate of $12m-$18m.

The version of the Declaration of Independence is probably going the primary version printed in New England, and matches nearly precisely the typesetting used for the version printed within the 16 July 1776 difficulty of the American Gazette.

Solely six copies are recorded extant, with 4 housed in establishments together with Georgetown College, Harvard College, the Massachusetts Historic Society and the Peabody Essex Museum. It’s estimated to promote for between $1m and $1.5m.

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Christina Geiger, head of the books and manuscripts division at Christie’s New York, stated seeing Reese’s non-public library for the primary time “was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life”.

She added: “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 rigour and humour, of grandeur and approachability – all these elements held in exquisite balance with exceptional taste.”

William Reese's library
William Reese assortment in situ. Christina Geiger, head of the books and manuscripts at Christie’s New York, stated seeing Reese’s non-public library for the primary time ‘was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life’. {Photograph}: Christie’s

Born in 1955, Reese was a seminal determine in antiquarian Americana with a eager curiosity in pure historical past, authorities and politics, journey and literature. He based the William Reese Firm of New Haven, Connecticut, in 1979, and over the following 40 years, the corporate turned the chief within the Americana market.

The antiquarian books agency was located adjoining to the Yale College campus and housed greater than 18,000 objects. Reese additionally labored intently with Yale’s Beinecke Uncommon E book & Manuscript Library to form its Americana collections. In 1998, he established the Reese Fellowship within the Print Tradition of the Americas, which has supplied analysis grants to greater than 150 students.

Different highlights from the public sale embrace a duplicate of Paul Revere’s 1770 engraving of the Boston Bloodbath (estimated at $250,000 to $300,000), a primary version of John Smith’s “General History of Virginia, New England and the Summer Isles” from 1624 ($300,000 to $500,000), and uncommon editions of John James Audubon and Herman Melville.

A sequence of themed stay and on-line auctions will likely be held in New York starting on 25 Could, and highlights from the gathering will likely be unveiled to the general public at an exhibition that opened on Thursday and runs till 28 January, marking the primary time in over 30 years that any portion of the present assortment has been publicly exhibited.

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