The Latest

Latest AC Story Map Recounts Black Market Journey of Original Bill of Rights Copy

December 15, 2020

In recognition of Bill of Rights Day on December 15, the Antiquities Coalition is releasing its fifth, fully immersive Story Map, titled “Lost Rights: An Exploration of the Misadventures of a Stolen American Relic.”

The title and concept for this Story Map are both derived from a book by David Howard, whom Deborah Lehr interviewed on June 30 for an AC exclusive webinar.

Like Howard’s book, this Story Map recounts the journey of one of the original copies of the Bill of Rights through the hands of some of the more prominent antiquities dealers in America. The document was one of just eleven surviving original renditions of the 10 amendments to the Constitution submitted to the 13 states in 1789. 

The priceless document was first taken from the North Carolina State Capitol as a spoil of war by a Union soldier in 1865. Following the theft, the document traveled the country for over a century, tucking into private offices and quietly shifting through the hands of multiple antiquities dealers.

Follow its journey below:

By raising awareness of cases such as North Carolina’s Lost Rights, the Antiquities Coalition hopes to help recover invaluable cultural patrimony. If you have any information on lost or stolen American documents, please visit Also, visit our website to explore The Ten Most Wanted Antiquities list, an illustrated guide to some of the most significant looted, stolen, and missing artifacts from around the world.