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Britain Finds Original Copy of US Declaration of Independence

Researchers in Britain have discovered a rare original copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, just as Americans are getting ready to mark July 4 Independence Day holiday.

Officials at the National Archives in London say the poster-sized document was hidden among correspondence from U.S. colonists. They say a local researcher discovered it by chance.

Researchers say the so-called Dunlap print is believed to be one of about 200 printed on July 4, 1776. These first copies of the Declaration of Independence were delivered to U.S. political leaders the next day.

Only a handful of the copies, named after printer John Dunlap, are known to have survived. The last known Dunlap print sold at an auction in 2000 for more than $8 million.

The Declaration of Independence formally announced the decision of the American colonists to break away from Britain. Researchers are not certain how the Dunlap copy ended up in Britain's National Archives.

Meanwhile, a London auction house is giving art lovers a chance to mark U.S. independence with a rare sculpture of George Washington. Sotheby's is auctioning off a life-sized bust of the first U.S. president on July 9. The auction house expects it to sell for a minimum of about $500,000.

Sotheby's says French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon created the bust after visiting America in 1785 to study Mr. Washington.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.