Frequently Asked Questions
What is parchment?
Parchment is animal skin that has been treated to accommodate writing and printing. Most parchment is from sheep or calfskin. We used calfskin for our documents because the best sources indicate that calfskin was used for America’s founding documents.
I have seen parchment paper at the art store, what is it?
The term “parchment” is used liberally. In fact, you can buy “parchment” cooking paper at the grocery. Also, you can buy “parchment” paper at most hobby and art stores. However, these “parchments” are artificial and not from animal skins.
How does Patrigraphica know it’s the first to produce a calfskin parchment copy of the Constitution?
As far as we have been able to discover, these are the first. If you are aware of some other reproductions, please let us know.
How did Patrigraphica find a way to print such a clear image on parchment?
The nature of parchment makes it a very difficult surface on which to print. The skins have to undergo special preparation before and after the printing process. Many skins were destroyed along the way of perfecting the technique.
Why do the Patrigraphica reproductions measure larger than the originals?
The text body is the same size as the originals. However, the margins are wider to accommodate framing. If you want the documents to be the exact size as the originals, your framer can trim the margins accordingly.
Does Patrigraphica include a certificate of authenticity with each print?
Yes, although we believe the integrity and beauty of each print speaks for itself.
Didn’t someone find an old parchment Declaration a few years ago and sell it for millions of dollars?
You may be thinking of Norman Lear’s 8.4 million dollar purchase of a Dunlap Broadside. The Dunlap Broadsides are the most valuable reproductions of the Declaration. They were not printed on vellum. Rather, they were poster-size newspaper announcements that were printed immediately after the Declaration was approved.
How can I acquire one of the parchment Declarations that was produced by William Stone in 1823?
Approximately 32 copies of the original 201 are known to exist; most are in museums and various institutions. However, some appear on the market from time to time. One copy sold in 2006 for approximately $500,000. To learn more check out the website of Kaller’s Historical Documents. http://www.americagallery.com/
How can I acquire old parchment copies of the Constitution?
No full-size calfskin parchment copies of the Constitution are known to exist prior to those created by Patrigraphica.
How are the Patrigraphica documents different from the “genuine parchment” and “authentic” documents I see for sale on the internet?
The documents sold elsewhere are printed on paper and made to look like “genuine parchment.” The documents sold by Patrigraphica are printed on actual parchment.
Why did the Founding Fathers use parchment?
They used parchment for very important legal documents because it was the only time-tested method of archival storage. In fact, to this day, two copies of every Act of the British Parliament are printed on parchment.
Is the parchment supposed to be “wavy?”
Yes. All of America’s founding document located in the National Archives have the natural contours characteristic of genuine parchment. Enjoy the authenticity of the “waves” of the parchment; never try to flatten, nail, or glue down your document.