Over on ExLibris, Everett Wilkie passes along a bulletin from Bea Hardy, the director of the Special Collections Research Center at the College of William and Mary's Swem Library. Hardy reports:
"I was contacted earlier this week by email by a woman claiming to work for 'Atam Sahamanian, a private art dealer here in Manhattan.' She claims that he has been commissioned to sell the 18th copy of the Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence by a descendant of a signer, discreetly, of course. She went on to say that after doing some research, she had concluded that William and Mary would be a good home for it and gave a string of reasons as to why. Should I be interested, she offered to send more pictures and the price.
If you have been or are similarly contacted, please be aware that the accompanying photo is not of a Dunlap broadside, and there are other reasons to view this offer with suspicion. A Google search for Atam Sahamanian or Atam Sahmanian (she spelled it both ways in the email) leads to a Yahoo! Answers post inquiring about a NY art dealer of that name who the poster alleges has scammed people. The post has been removed but is still in Google's cache. Google also turns up a high-end shirtmaker by that name in Manhattan who does seem to be legitimate.
It's always safest to buy from reputable dealers, such as members of the Antiquarian Booksellers of America, who agree to abide by a code of ethics."
Wikipedia's entry for the Dunlap Broadside is actually quite decent; also see the MHS' description of the broadside and this background page (which lists the locations of all 25 known copies).
If you receive a similar email, I encourage you to let me know - the more public we can make this, the better.
[Update: The New-York Historical Society has also been contacted, Director of Library Operations Nina Nazionale reported this afternoon on ExLibris. She includes the original email sent by an Olivia Day Thacher. More as I get it.]
[Further update: Here's the image that's being circulated with the email, and here's a Dunlap Broadside for comparison. Somebody better call the State of Texas and make sure they don't buy this one ... sorry, was that mean?]
[Still further update: Please see this important update to this post regarding a clarification made by Atam Sahmanian, Inc. - 28 March 2008]