Monticello proudly presents the first authentic, calfskin reproductions of the Declaration of Independence since the rare William Stone prints commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1823. Like the original Declaration, ours is made of calfskin parchment - not paper. Each skin has been hand-stretched and scraped by Jesse Meyer of Pergamena in Montgomery, New York.
True to size, this Declaration of Independence is an impressive 25 x 31 and accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity. Parchment color varies from antique white to light honey brown.
What is parchment?
Parchment is animal skin that has been treated to accommodate writing and printing. Most parchment is from sheep or calfskin. We used calfskin for our documents because the best sources indicate that calfskin was used for Americas founding documents.
I have seen parchment paper at the art store, what is it?
The term parchment is used liberally. In fact, you can buy parchment cooking paper at the grocery. Also, you can buy parchment paper at most hobby and art stores. However, these parchments are artificial and not from animal skins.
Why is printing on genuine parchment so difficult?
The nature of parchment makes it a very difficult surface on which to print. The skins have to undergo special preparation before and after the printing process. Many skins were destroyed along the way of perfecting the technique.
Why do the Monticello reproductions measure larger than the originals?
The text body is the same size as the originals. However, the margins are wider to accommodate framing. If you want the documents to be the exact size as the originals, your framer can trim the margins accordingly.
Didnt someone find an old parchment Declaration a few years ago and sell it for millions of dollars?
You may be thinking of Norman Lears 8.4 million dollar purchase of a Dunlap Broadside. The Dunlap Broadsides are the most valuable reproductions of the Declaration. They were not printed on vellum. Rather, they were poster-size newspaper announcements that were printed immediately after the original Declaration was approved.
How can I acquire one of the parchment Declarations that was produced by William Stone in 1823?
Approximately 32 copies of the original 201 are known to exist; most are in museums and various institutions. However, some appear on the market from time to time. One copy sold in 2006 for approximately $500,000.