Auction of first edition of 'Star Spangled Banner' tops $500,000
December 3rd, 2010
12:37 PM ET

Auction of first edition of 'Star Spangled Banner' tops $500,000

A near two-century-old copy of "The Star Spangled Banner" sold for $506,500 Friday at Christie's auction house in Manhattan.

The famed sheet music is one of 11 known first edition copies of Francis Scott Key's patriotic tune, said to be written after he witnessed the British naval bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.

The iconic manuscript was sold to a telephone bidder, who was not immediately named.

Key, then a young lawyer and amateur poet, is said to have boarded a truce vessel in the Chesapeake Bay in an effort to negotiate the release of a detained American doctor, according to documents from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

But Key was himself detained overnight by Royal navy officials to ensure their plans for the assault on the fort were not revealed to its defenders. His vantage point aboard the British ship is said to have offered sweeping views of the ensuing battle, spanning the night of September 13 to the morning of September 14, 1814.


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November 23rd, 2010
02:26 AM ET

Massachusetts OKs power deal for offshore wind project

The nation's first proposed offshore wind farm got another big boost Monday, when Massachusetts' utility regulator approved a 15-year power purchase between the project's developer and its first client, National Grid.

Developers still need to secure permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Still, Monday's announcement marks a major milestone for the effort, giving the project a much-needed revenue stream ahead of planned construction.

"It is abundantly clear that the Cape Wind facility offers significant benefits that are not currently available from any other renewable resource," Ann Berwick, chair of the state utilities department, wrote in a press release. "These benefits outweigh the costs of the project."

The Cape Wind project, which has bitterly divided residents and power brokers in Massachusetts for the past decade, consists of 130 wind turbines to be located off the coast in the iconic Nantucket Sound.

The late Sen. Edward Kennedy, a champion of green energy and recreational sailor whose family compound in Hyannis, Massachusetts, would overlook the turbines, was among those who opposed the effort. But it had the support of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a fellow Democrat, and, ultimately, President Obama's administration.

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Filed under: Environment • Politics