Standardization Manuscript for “The Star Spangled Banner”

Value (2011) | $10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
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GUEST:
In 1917, Woodrow Wilson asked for a standardized version of The Star-Spangled Banner, since there were so many different ones. And the Department of Education appointed five men to standardize it. Mr. Damrosch, Mr. Earhart, Gantvoort, Sonneck and Sousa.

APPRAISER:
John Philip Sousa.

GUEST:
John Philip Sousa. And their initials are down the side of the manuscript. They took the song and broke it up measure by measure, and they each wrote what they felt that particular measure should be. They went back and voted as to which they felt should be the final version. And so they wrote the final version, then, down here, and then they put in the words to go along with the melody.

APPRAISER:
And that is the verse that we... remains.

GUEST:
That is the verse. And the way I got it was that my father was taking music theory classes, one on one, with Dr. Gantvoort, and Dr. Gantvoort gave this copy to my father as a gift... when he left.

APPRAISER:
Very interesting. We all know our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, and it did have a long history from when it was written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key as a poem. And it was then interpreted with music over more than a decade before it kind of reached the final form that we know it in today. Each of them had gotten a manuscript or not. We may never know. But we certainly know that this is one, and it's absolutely right from the period, and you know who it came from. So based on that, we feel that we can put an auction estimate in the $10,000 to $15,000 range.

GUEST:
Wonderful!

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Christie's
New York, NY
Appraised value (2011)
$10,000 Auction$15,000 Auction
Event
Eugene, OR (June 04, 2011)
Period
20th Century
Form
Manuscript
Material
Paper
January 21, 2013: The circa 1917 standardization manuscript for "The Star Spangled Banner" is now part of the collection at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historical Shrine in Baltimore, Maryland. PBS's History Detectives interviewed the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW guest who brought in this American treasure. You can see the segment from episode 1009 on the History Detectives website.

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