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Copy of Declaration Found at Thrift Store will be Displayed

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Utah investment firm purchased a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence for $477,650 after a thrift-store shopper acquired it for $2.48.

It will be displayed June 29 at Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.

"It's symbolism for how we operate our company," said Corey Ann Curwick, marketing director at Bray-Conn Inc. "The principles that have brought our country success have also given us unparalleled success."

The copy was made in 1823 by William Stone at the request of John Quincy Adams, president from 1825 to 1829. Only three dozen are known to exist.

Michael Sparks found it in a thrift store in Nashville, Tenn., last year.

"This one was so beautiful I thought it was an engraving," he said. "I look for things that have quality to them."

Just two days earlier, it was removed from a couple's garage during a routine cleaning.

"It just doesn't pay to keep a clean house," Sparks said.

Raynor's Historical Collectible Auction in North Carolina told Sparks it was authentic.

"At first we set a limit of $350,000," Curwick said. "We wanted it bad enough that we were going to keep bidding until we outbid them."

A lightning rod that belonged to Benjamin Franklin, a diploma signed by George Washington and two documents with the signatures of Adams and James Madison will also be displayed at Grand America Hotel.

------ Information from: Deseret Morning News.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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