Sunday, March 4, 2012

Extra! The Union is Dissolved!

From the collection of Eric C. Caren, Swann Galleries offers this extraordinary first printing of an important letterpress broadside announcing South Carolina's Act of Secession. The Charleston Mercury printed it within fifteen minutes of the vote, a remarkable feat for 1860 or, for that matter, today. Essentially, this event marks the beginning of the Civil War.

Sale 2273 Lot 117   

Mar 15 2012 13:30

THE FIRST CONFEDERATE IMPRINT (CIVIL WAR--1860.) Charleston Mercury Extra . . . The Union is Dissolved! Letterpress broadside, 24 x 11 3/4 inches; worn at folds, but professionally restored and laid down on archival tissue. Charleston, SC, 20 December 1860
Estimate $15,000-25,000
March 15, 2012:  Sold for $22,000

the first printing of the first act of secession, printed just fifteen minutes after the final vote--so this broadside might as well announce the birth of the Confederacy and beginning of the Civil War. The printers were well aware of the significance of the news, emphasizing the THE UNION IS DISSOLVED in large block letters.
This broadside includes the full text of "An Ordinance to Dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and other States,' which concludes that "the union now subsisting between South Carolina and the other States, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved."
"Immediately on the declaration of the vote the door-keeper was apprised. He gave the word to the policeman nearest him. It was passed from mouth to mouth until it reached the sentinel at the tall iron gate at the entrance, and by him was proclaimed to the impatient crowd. Cheer after cheer rent the air. In less than fifteen minutes the Charleston Mercury had issued an extra giving the text of the ordinance, and the news that it had been unanimously adopted"--Rhodes, History of the United States from the Compromise of 1850, page III:198. Harwell, Cornerstones of Confederate Collecting, page 6; Ray O. Hummell, Southeastern Broadsides Before 1877, 2434; Sabin 87439; Streeter sale II:1271.  

Note:  Check out my previous post on a famous abolitionist broadside.


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