[intro]You Might Never Know What’s Lurking Inside[/intro]
The story behind Sotheby’s “pristine” copy of the Declaration of Independence gets told again in Philadelphia. Thousands will now descend on flea markets tearing apart interesting looking frames:
A man goes to a Lancaster County antique market and buys a ragged old painting because he likes its wooden frame. Price, $4. He goes home, removes the painting from the frame and, there, hidden between the painting and its wood backing, he finds a folded document. […]
Sotheby’s announced yesterday that the document – printed July 4, 1776, and one of just 24 known to exist – was discovered two summers ago by a Philadelphia financial analyst who was browsing at an antique market in Adamstown, south of Reading.
The analyst, a collector of old maps and stock certificates who was not identified, later found the document inside an old painting of a country scene, which he later discarded along with the frame. He didn’t realize its value until a friend who collects Civil War artifacts urged him to have it appraised.
“It took one second to know it was right,” said David Redden, vice president of Sotheby’s, who authenticated the document. “But what really astonished us was the condition – so fresh, so clean.”
Sotheby’s said it would sell the document for the owner on June 4. The copy is 151/2 inches by 193/4 inches, on slightly yellowed rag paper printed in black ink. The auction house estimated the copy’s value at between $800,000 and $1.2 million.
Million-Dollar Flea Market Find (Philly.com)