Rare first edition of USA national anthem set to go under Christie’s hammer

The name, by itself, may not ring a bell, unless of course you flip the pages of history and realise that the “Star Spangled Banner” is in fact the original work of what today is the American national anthem. And come December, it is this very draft that’s going under the hammer at the Christie’s in New York. Estimated to go for $200,000 to $300,000, it is said to be the only known copy in private hands of the 11 printed first editions. The rest are in the possessions of institutions.

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As for the history, the “Star Spangled Banner’ was first written by Francis Scott Key as a poem in September 1814, after witnessing the British bombard Baltimore’s Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The poem was then set to music by publisher Thomas Carr, who rushed the song to print and in doing so omitted Key’s name. Published under the title “A Patriotic Song”, the song was officially used by the Navy in 1889 and the President in 1916. It finally became the national anthem on March 3, 1931.

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