How did we start selling Theodore Ohman copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Read below to find out.

Printing Plates

Our Story

Several years ago Ken Foss found some incredible artifacts pertaining to our country's Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

Old wooden crates yielded artifacts from a bygone printing era — printing press plates, glass negatives and positives, lithographs and stacks of other printed materials.

Foss, who then had little knowledge of printing history, knew they had something interesting but they didn't know what. "My mouth dropped open every time we opened another crate," he said.

"It was like opening a time capsule. The more we got into this, the more it was 'wow' and 'wow.'"

Much of the material goes back to the 1930s and '40s, said Foss. He got really excited when they discovered that some press materials and prints were of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

A little investigation revealed the cache of printing antiques once belonged to a man named Theodore Ohman.

According to websites, Ohman made it a personal mission to reproduce the documents in their original condition and make them available to the public.

Institutions like the National Archives, Library of Congress and Independence Hall have some of Ohman's work. His copies are touted as being as close to the original as you can get. According to Web sources, he made them by using the last photograph taken of the original Declaration (before it was permanently sealed in the National Archives in 1903) and an engraving made in 1823.

No information could be found on how Ohman made copies of the Constitution, but Foss found more than 10,000 in the old crates.

Right now, some pieces are on display at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wis. Ken Foss has talked to enough people to know that these kind of materials are valuable to some. They have about 100 Ohman copies of the Declaration; the last one sold for $650, according to Mark F. Moran, a Wisconsin appraiser of antiques and fine art.

Moran, who has worked for Antiques Roadshow and appraised antiques, was impressed by the Ohman artifacts and said they would be of interest to collectors.

Click here to read about Theodore Ohman.


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