When the American Archives Series books came to the ARC department, many of them had missing boards and other issues compromising their structural integrity. They also smelled of the ancient organic dust that accompanies old leather bound books, reminding me that I was due for a Tetanus booster shot. That said, my expectations were low.
A quick glimpse of the market revealed a value for these volumes at around $100-200 a piece. Not bad, but given their present state, and the collective need for some TLC from a sympathetic binder, these tomes were destined to be sold for scrap at auction. After plowing through a few of these, I came across American Archives; Fifth Series, Volume I. A cursory glance of this item suggested it would fare the same fate as its siblings. Since I literally couldn’t judge this book by its cover as it didn’t have one, I dug right in. And to my surprise, the latter half of the book revealed a true diamond in the rough.
There in the back, just waiting to be discovered was a pristine facsimile copy of the Declaration of Independence encapsulated within the textblock. It took a few moments for me to wrap my mind exactly what I was dealing with. I mean wow. With some additional research I found that this particular copy of the Declaration of Independence has a conservative market value of between $17,000-24,000, with a high of $38,000. Other copies that have sold for the lower amounts are typically ones that have been removed from the book and consequently experienced a good degree of wear and tear due to their exposure to the elements.
But this copy of ours by comparison is nothing short of phenomenal. If any copy merits the premium value based on condition, ours is the one. What a day — this was like finding a sizable diamond in an unassuming lump of coal. And the moral of the story is — sometimes you have to look past an unassuming appearance to find something truly beautiful and amazing inside.
See more about our Declaration of Indpendence on Ebay!