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‘Pawn Stars’ Seller Claims To Have Original Declaration Of Independence Copy, But Is It A Hoax?

Believe it or not, according to “Pawn Stars” [1] star Corey Harrison, “once or twice a year” someone comes into his pawn shop claiming to have an original copy of the Declaration of Independence – and one Henderson man actually did manage to nab an actual copy in an online auction.

Kevin Kostiner said he spent $75 in a blind online auction [2] for a few boxes of papers. Remarkably, among those papers was an original copper plate copy of the Declaration of Independence produced by Washington engraver William Stone in the 1830s.

According to Mark Hall-Patton, Clark County museums administrator and a consulting expert for “Pawn Stars [3],” Stone was commissioned by John Quincy Adams in the 1820s to make printings of the Declaration of Independence [4].

Then, in 1820, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams commissioned Stone to make copies of the declaration — which, Hall-Patton notes, hadn’t been treated particularly well in the intervening years — directly from the original document.

Over a period of three years, Stone inscribed onto a 24-by-30-inch copper plate the words and signatures of the declaration in a manner as close as possible to the original, Hall-Patton says. In 1823, the copper plate was used to create 201 first-generation copies of the declaration, he adds.

Stone was then commissioned again in the 1830s and 1840s to make prints for a series of books called “The Annals of America.” What Kostiner has, Hall-Patton said, is “a second-generation copy from the original plate.”

While not as valuable as a first-generation copy, Kostiner’s find is still significant. About 1,500 second-generation copies were authorized to be made, and at least 500 actually were. But “we don’t know how many of these are out there,” Hall-Patton said.

Kostiner brought the copy to “Pawn Stars” and asked $25,000 for it. However, due to the damage of the document, Corey was only willing to give him so much. See how much Corey offered Kostiner, and learn some more history about the document, in the video below.

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