The first edition of the United States Declaration of Independence to go on sale | US News | Latest News Headlines

The first edition of the United States Declaration of Independence to go on sale | US News

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One of the first contemporary parallel editions of the Declaration of Independence is set to go on sale later this year, at an auction from the private library of William S. Reese, the world’s leading antique book dealer. of his generation.

“Bill” Reese’s collection, comprising printed works, historical prints, art books and color plates, will be one of America’s most valuable sales in print for over 50 years, said Christie’s , giving it a “conservative” presale. estimate of $ 12-18 million.

The Declaration of Independence edition is probably the first edition printed in New England and almost exactly matches the composition used for the print edition in the July 16, 1776 issue of the American Gazette.

Only six copies are recorded, four of which are housed in institutions such as Georgetown University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Peabody Essex Museum. Its selling price is estimated at between $ 1 million and $ 1.5 million.

Christina Geirger, Head of Books and Manuscripts Department at Christie’s New York, said seeing Reese’s private library for the first time “has been one of the most exciting experiences of my life.”

She added, “The books and works of art so clearly embody Bill’s passion for history, evident in both written and visual culture. The library was a special place of both sanctuary and adventure, intellectual rigor and humor, grandeur and accessibility – all of these kept in exquisite balance with exceptional taste.

William Reese's Library
William Reese collection in situ. Christina Geirger, head of books and manuscripts at Christie’s New York, said seeing Reese’s private library for the first time “was one of the most exciting experiences of my life.” Photography: Christie’s

Born in 1955, Reese was a prominent figure in ancient America with a keen interest in natural history, government and politics, travel and literature. He founded the eponymous William Reese company of New Haven, Connecticut, in 1979, and over the next 40 years the company became the market leader in the United States.

The antique book business was located next to the Yale University campus and housed over 18,000 articles. Reese has also worked closely with Yale’s Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library to shape its Americana collections. In 1998, he established the Reese Fellowship in the Print Culture of the Americas, which offered research grants to over 150 academics.

Other auction highlights include a copy of Paul Revere’s 1770 engraving of the Boston Massacre ($ 250,000 to $ 300,000), a first edition of “General History of Virginia, New England and the Summer Isles “by John Smith from 1624 ($ 300,000 to $ 500,000), and rare editions by John James Audubon and Herman Melville.

A series of thematic live and online auctions will be held in New York City from May 25, and highlights of the collection will be unveiled to the public at an exhibition that opened on Thursday and will run through January 28, marking the first time in over 30 years. that part of the current collection has been exhibited publicly.

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