Washington Post – “During the Civil War, the precious document was hidden behind wallpaper in a home in Virginia to keep Union soldiers from finding it. Later, it sat in a closet in Kentucky, in a broken frame, unappreciated and stored in a cardboard box.
And later still it was stuck behind a cabinet in the office of an energy executive outside Houston. It was a rare parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence, made in Washington in the 1820s for founding father James Madison, and apparently unknown to the public for more than a century. Now, the copy, one of 51 that scholars are aware of, has resurfaced via its purchase last month by billionaire philanthropist David M. Rubenstein. It is one of the exquisite facsimiles made from the original handwritten calfskin document crafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1776. Scholars say it bears the image of the Declaration that most people know, in part because the original is now so badly faded. “This is the closest … to the original Declaration, the way it looked when it was signed in August of 1776,” said Seth Kaller, a New York rare-document appraiser who assisted in the sale. “Without these … copies you wouldn’t even know what the original looked liked.”..