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Possible Declaration of Independence copy found in Alabama
Alabama Live ^ | 7/5/05 | AP

Posted on 07/06/2005 1:23:39 PM PDT by TheBigB

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — This much is certain: Janice Burks has a copy of the Declaration of Independence, which her late husband said he found in a hidden compartment in a box he bought in Philadelphia decades ago.

Past that, the truths are not exactly self-evident.

The document may be one of the earliest known copies of the nation's founding document, a valuable treasure that turned up unexpectedly in an out-of-the-way part of Alabama. Or it could be a clever fake crafted not too many years ago.

Either way, the Burks family wants to have the document checked by experts.

"Even if it turned out to be a forgery, it would be good just to know one way or the other," Burks told the Montgomery Advertiser in a story on Independence Day.

Bert Bodiford, a history buff who also works with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, said Burks' late husband, Paul, contacted him in 1992 seeking help authenticating a document he said he found in his workshop in Wilsonville.

Bodiford said Burks told him he was on vacation in Philadelphia in the late '60s and bought an old wooden box covered in leather at a flea market. It cost between $5 and $15, Bodiford said.

"Well, around 1989, he was cleaning out his workshop and decided to get rid of the box. He threw it in the back of his truck with some other things. When he came out to throw in another load, he noticed that the top was broken, and that the box had a false top."

Burks told Bodiford that inside the box, he found a scroll of paper with a piece of gold cord around it, an empty velvet bag attached to the cord and an old wasp nest.

Janice Burks said her husband initially thought the document was just another modern-day copy of the Declaration of Independence.

"At first, I don't think he really thought it was anything," she said. "But the more he looked into it, and the more he found out about it, the more excited he got."

What he found was that the document he had might not be just a copy of the Declaration of Independence, but one of the first copies that historians call a Dunlap broadside — only 25 are known to exist, and one sold for $8.1 million during a Sotheby's online auction in June 2000.

Susan Cooper of the National Archives said the Declaration of Independence actually was signed almost a month after the celebrated July 4 date. July 4, 1776, was when the Dunlap broadside was printed, becoming sort of a Colonial American version of e-mail.

"Back then, they didn't have a way to communicate with each other rapidly, so they sent broadsides," she said.

While other Dunlap broadsides have the printed name of John Hancock, who was then president of the Continental Congress, the Burks' copy — taken out of the safety of a bank vault only three or four times since Paul Burks' death — appears to have Hancock's actual signature and has ink-stained handprints on the back.

For Ashley Burks, the son of Paul Burks, uncovering the background of the document is personal.

"It's not really about the money," he said. "I know this is something my daddy would have wanted me to finish."

Experts have looked at the document, with some concluding it was genuine and others saying it was a forgery. The family intends to again try to have the document authenticated, but testing fees start at $2,500.

"The truth is that if any of us were millionaires, we'd be able to go out tomorrow and find out, but we aren't, and we will have to try and find some other way to get tests like that done," said Bodiford.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:
Paging Nicolas Cage...
1 posted on 07/06/2005 1:23:39 PM PDT by TheBigB
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To: TheBigB

Wonder if the ACLU will let them display it?


2 posted on 07/06/2005 1:25:19 PM PDT by Saigon68
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To: TheBigB
Did they try using lemon juice and a blow-dryer before giving it back?

and did they find the glasses to go with the copy??????

3 posted on 07/06/2005 1:26:25 PM PDT by Alkhin ("Oh! Oh!" cried my idiot crew. "It's a ghoul - we are lost!" ~ Jack Aubrey)
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To: TheBigB
Can it be shipped to DC in time for Souter's next bowel movement?

UPS Ground will suffice.

4 posted on 07/06/2005 1:28:59 PM PDT by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: TheBigB

The article didn't state where the document is, but I don't think I would want to advertise the fact that I might have a $8.1 million dollar document in my house. Too many kooks out there. (Now, where do they live again???????)


5 posted on 07/06/2005 1:29:10 PM PDT by Millee (So you're a feminist......isn't that cute??)
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To: TheBigB

Does it use proportional fonts?


6 posted on 07/06/2005 1:29:48 PM PDT by The Old Hoosier (Right makes might.)
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To: Millee
the Burks' copy — taken out of the safety of a bank vault only three or four times since Paul Burks' death
7 posted on 07/06/2005 1:30:51 PM PDT by TheBigB (Constitution Day is a whore for big pharam!)
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To: Saigon68
I hope the people who have it aren't liberals, or they'll write it all sorts of stuff:

That whole right to own guns thingy: forget we mentioned it.

Gays can too get married.

8 posted on 07/06/2005 1:31:20 PM PDT by Paul Atreides (The Democrats have the right mascot; everyone knows what comes out of an ass)
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To: The Old Hoosier

It may be fake, but it's accurate. :^)


9 posted on 07/06/2005 1:31:31 PM PDT by TheBigB (Constitution Day is a whore for big pharam!)
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To: TheBigB

Was there a map on the back of it???


10 posted on 07/06/2005 1:32:10 PM PDT by mware ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche........ "Nope, you are"-- GOD)
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To: TheBigB

11 posted on 07/06/2005 1:32:12 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded upon Our Lady." - Tolkien)
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To: The Old Hoosier

No, but there is a part in there showing that W fixed things for going to war in Iraq.


12 posted on 07/06/2005 1:32:34 PM PDT by Paul Atreides (The Democrats have the right mascot; everyone knows what comes out of an ass)
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To: TheBigB

(D'oh!!! Sheepish thanks....)


13 posted on 07/06/2005 1:32:48 PM PDT by Millee (So you're a feminist......isn't that cute??)
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To: cjshapi

Alabama ping.


14 posted on 07/06/2005 1:34:19 PM PDT by Junior (“Even if you are one-in-a-million, there are still 6,000 others just like you.”)
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To: TheBigB

If it is actualy a SIGNED copy, it would be worth 80 million or more.........


15 posted on 07/06/2005 1:34:21 PM PDT by Red Badger (The Army makes the world safe for democracy. The Marines make the world safe for the Army.....)
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To: TheBigB

From 15 buck to 8 million - imagine the capital gains tax on that!


16 posted on 07/06/2005 1:35:22 PM PDT by Fierce Allegiance (This ain't your granddaddy's America!)
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To: TheBigB
"The truth is that if any of us were millionaires, we'd be able to go out tomorrow and find out, but we aren't, and we will have to try and find some other way to get tests like that done," said Bodiford.

That's all the reason the government will need to take the document away from them on the grounds that there might be a greater public benefit to display it in a museum that charges admission and pays taxes than to let it stay in these people's home so only they can enjoy it (until their home is taken, too).

-PJ

17 posted on 07/06/2005 1:37:44 PM PDT by Political Junkie Too (It's still not safe to vote Democrat.)
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To: Red Badger

"If it is actualy a SIGNED copy, it would be worth 80 million or more........."

Nope!
Eminient Domain..
**Zoink** I'll take that. More tax money to be had charging admission.



18 posted on 07/06/2005 1:38:06 PM PDT by CygnusXI (Where's that dang Meteor already?)
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To: mware
"Yup, it's real."

19 posted on 07/06/2005 1:38:35 PM PDT by TheBigB (Constitution Day is a whore for big pharam!)
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To: Paul Atreides

You're confusing the Declaration with the Constitution.


20 posted on 07/06/2005 1:42:17 PM PDT by E.Allen
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To: E.Allen

Nah, I'm just saying that the libs would put that in either document.


21 posted on 07/06/2005 1:45:36 PM PDT by Paul Atreides (The Democrats have the right mascot; everyone knows what comes out of an ass)
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To: TheBigB
I became familiar with the Dunlap Broadside only recently because a copy will be in nearby Sacramento, CA on display for several months.

That a 26th copy has been found is wonderful.

I have a suggestion for this family. If they have their copy scanned, regardless of whether it's an Original Dunlap or a more modern copy, I, and I'm sure thousands of other Americans would pay for copies of it for framing. Voila. Money for testing its authenticity.

I, for sure, would love to have a full-size facsimile.

22 posted on 07/06/2005 1:45:47 PM PDT by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are ignorance, stupidity and hydrogen)
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To: TheBigB

I'll put up the money if I get 10% of the selling price.


23 posted on 07/06/2005 1:46:03 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (G-d is not a Republican. But Satan is definitely a Democrat.)
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To: Red Badger

Unless it's like a baseball card, and signatures *decrease* the value....


24 posted on 07/06/2005 1:48:25 PM PDT by highball ("I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have." -- Thomas Jefferson)
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To: CygnusXI
>"If it is actualy a SIGNED copy, it would be worth 80 million or more........."

Nope!
Eminient Domain..
**Zoink** I'll take that. More tax money to be had charging admission.

Ah, but they would have to pay fair market value for it.

Let's see...
One sheet of parchment: $.25
About a half once of ink: $.05
Fancy gold string: $.75

Total: $1.05

Well, what do you know? Team America was right! Freedom does cost a buck oh five!

25 posted on 07/06/2005 1:52:29 PM PDT by Antonello
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To: Antonello
Gaak! once=ounce.

Darned spell checker should be upgraded to know what I meant, not just what I typed!
26 posted on 07/06/2005 1:56:09 PM PDT by Antonello
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To: Antonello

I wonder if he kept the box.


27 posted on 07/06/2005 2:07:20 PM PDT by coon2000
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To: TheBigB
If this isn't a living, breathing document it is a fake.

At least, that's what the Supreme Court says and they should know!

28 posted on 07/06/2005 2:10:25 PM PDT by Gritty ("The struggle over the Supreme Court is about the future of our culture - Robert Bork)
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To: TheBigB

Is the text kerned?


29 posted on 07/06/2005 2:57:40 PM PDT by fso301
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To: TheBigB
"The family intends to again try to have the document authenticated, but testing fees start at $2,500."

If they would consign it with Sotheby's for sale, Sotheby's would spring for the authentication costs.
30 posted on 07/06/2005 3:07:05 PM PDT by laishly
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To: TheBigB

mark for later read


31 posted on 07/06/2005 3:13:33 PM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (No rolling stone ever says, "I want to be a Bryologist when I grow up!")
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To: TheBigB
"It's not really about the money..."

It's all about the money...

32 posted on 07/06/2005 3:27:51 PM PDT by Libloather (I trust Hillary as far as I can throw her...)
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To: TheBigB
Quick put it on a little cardboard roll. Judge Ginsburg's executive wash room is out of TP.
33 posted on 07/06/2005 3:48:15 PM PDT by Sanguis Christi victor daemon
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