AN AMAZING FACT: After Stan Caffy and his wife Linda married, as part of combining households, she urged him to clean out the garage. Stan, an admitted pack rat, was reluctant to part with a reprint of the Declaration of Independence he kept hanging in his shop. He bought the yellowed document about 10 years earlier at a yard sale for a couple of dollars. Linda won the clean-out-the-garage debate, and so in March 2006 she rolled up the old parchment and took it, along with an antique table, and donated them to a local thrift store.
Fast forward one year. Michael Sparks was visiting the Music City Thrift Shop in Nashville, where he bought a candle holder, a set of salt and pepper shakers, and a yellowed print of the Declaration of Independence. Sparks, a music equipment technician, also figured the document was a worthless modern reprint, so he paid the asking price of $2.48 and headed home.
After looking over the document for a few days, he wondered if it might be older than he thought. So he clicked around on the Internet to do some research and soon realized, based on a number of clues, he had purchased one of only 200 official copies of the Declaration of Independence! Copies of the original document were commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1820, when he was secretary of state. They were printed by William Stone in 1823. Of those 200 early copies, only 35 had been found intact. Michael now had number 36.
It took a year for Sparks to have the print authenticated and preserved. Then he put it up for auction in Burlington, North Carolina. The bidding opened at $125,000 and climbed to the sale price of $477,650. Stan Caffey confessed he felt like the village idiot when he read in the paper the document he had hanging in his garage for 10 years was this rare copy of the Declaration of Independence.
This is not the only time a precious national document has been misplaced or unrealized. During the reign of King Josiah in Judah, a lost parchment was found. “Now when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the Lord, Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the Lord given by Moses. Then Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, ‘I have found the Book of the Law in the house of the Lord’” (2 Chronicles 34:14, 15). Finding this precious document brought about a national revival. Have you discovered the authentic truth in the Word lately?
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: Matthew 7:7