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I Wish my Piggy Bank was Heavier…

Home - by - November 13, 2012 - 23:45 America/New_York - 8 Comments

from PennLive.com

Philadelphia will host collection of American Revolution autographs before it goes to auction

The complete set of all 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence is expected to fetch more than $1 million at a Dec. 15 auction. On Tuesday, the collection is being displayed at the site of the future Museum of the American Revolution in the city’s historic district in a private event for scholars, historians and students from the nearby Mastery Charter School’s Lenfest campus.

Philanthropist and media mogul H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest is a supporter of the charter school and board chair and benefactor of the Revolution museum, which is slated to open in late 2015.


New Hampshire-based auction house RR Auction calls it the ultimate accomplishment in American autograph collecting, with only 40 complete collections of Declaration signers known in existence. Most of the signatures in the collection for sale are part of historically significant letters written by the Founding Fathers, not cut-out signatures or signatures on routine documents that are part of some Declaration signer collections, the auction house said.

“In 32 years of business, this is the first we’ve come across,” Bobby Livingston, vice president at RR Auction, said Monday.

The highlight is a letter autographed by Georgia signer Button Gwinnett, who died in 1777 in a duel. Only 51 examples of his handwriting are believed to survive today, Livingston said.

“It’s the holy grail, the ultimate prize for all collectors,” he said.

Other notables in the collection are a 1780 letter from John Adams that includes the oft-repeated description of America as “the city, set upon a hill,” as well as a 1785 letter by Benjamin Franklin bidding farewell to a friend as he prepared to leave France for his return to Philadelphia.

The collection was completed in 1905 by the noted collector Thomas Proctor of Utica, N.Y., who bound it in a red hardbound volume in a way that the pages could easily be removed and replaced with better versions of signatures as he acquired them.

It was bought in the 1920s by another well-known collector, Philip Sang of Chicago. The current owner, Richard Newell of New Hampshire, purchased the collection through a private sale in 2000 for the “high six figures,” Livingston said.

“Most of these collections, almost all, are in public institutions and libraries,” he said. “Only 10 complete collections are in private hands and this is the most significant of those.”


Link to video HERE from GoodDay Fox29. You can see the prized papers if you can get past the annoying hosts.


*sigh* What would the founders think of their Republic now…



  1. MN Patriot

    November 14th, 2012

    I’ll bet a dollar to a donut that Glenn Beck wins the auction.

    Thumb up +1

  2. Melody

    November 14th, 2012

    On another note… It’s Furs birthday


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  3. Merry Poppet

    November 14th, 2012

    I would love just to see the collection, let alone buy it. :)

    Thumb up +2

  4. Kairn

    November 14th, 2012

    This is difficult to say, but I put dibs on Soros.

    Although let’s pray if that’s the case, God makes this thing supercharged like the Ark was. When Soros reaches for it, he gets fried!!!

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  5. Maudie N Mandeville

    November 14th, 2012

    Call me cynical as to what these black Philly high school (children?) learn from their walk through of the display of signers of the Declaration.

    I’ll await the video of 4 or 5 of Mastery Charter School’s finest knocking out some unsuspecting white dude on their way back to campus.

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  6. F.D.R. in Hell

    November 14th, 2012

    In Philadelphia, five-will-get-you-ten, it will be stolen before next month’s auction.

    By the way, each of those 56 Signers voted twice for Obama last week.

    Thumb up +2

  7. Stranded in Sonoma

    November 14th, 2012

    The most valuable signature on the Declaration of Independence is not Button Gwinnett. It is Roger Sherman of CT. Mr. Sherman was so highly thought of by his fellow citizens, they sent him to the Continental Congress and to the Constitutional Convention.

    While there, he became the only person to sign our four most important political documents; The Continental Association of 1774, The Declaration of Independence in 1776, The Articles of Confederation in 1777, and the Constitution in 1787. He wrote a book about the evils of paper money — A Caveat Against Injustice — and was considered one of the more intelligent delegates at the Constitutional Convention.

    Button Gwinnett’s signature has no meaning. Roger Sherman’s signature has the most meaning of all.

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