Official copy of Declaration fetches $477,650 at auction

Published: Mar. 23, 2007 at 1:20 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 26, 2007 at 12:22 PM EDT
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(Nashville, TN-AP) March 23, 2007 - A rare 1823 "official" copy of the Declaration of Independence has been sold for more than $477,000 by the man who paid less than three dollars for it.

Michael Sparks found his bargain last March while browsing at Music City Thrift Shop. When he asked the price on a yellowed, shellacked, rolled-up document, the clerk marked it at $2.48 plus tax.

What Sparks had was an "official copy" of the Declaration of Independence - one of 200 commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820 and printed by William Stone in 1823.

He sold the document at auction in Burlington (North Carolina). The opening bid was $125,000 and six bidders were in contention. Most of the bidders were absentee by phone or Internet.

Sparks gets about $410,000, minus 12.5 percent commission to the house. He says he'll use the money for a used car, a sunroom on his house and to help his parents. He says some will go to charity.

Posted 9:19am by Bryce Mursch