$121k for George Washington's marital advice

We recently reported on the record-breaking sale of a map which depicted the Battle of Yorktown in the American War of Independence at a sale held by James D Julia. That sold for $1.15m, the highest price fetched for any map at auction.

However, it was not the only remarkable sale at the event. Several documents, notably those connected to the early Presidents, far outstripped their estimates.

A full page account by Thomas Jefferson to Tobias Lear stressing the importance to America of having a navy brought several times its estimate: $57,500 against a guide price of $5,000-10,000

A draft of a letter from Martha Washington (written for her by Tobias Lear) to President John Adams in which she yields to a request by Congress to have her late husband interred in the capital building, was expected to sell for $1,500-$2,500 but achieved $24,150.

However, the stand-out sale was a letter by George Washington to his nephew George Augustine Washington in which the elder Washington gives marital advice and talks about family matters whilst also mentioning that the younger man will inherit a certain amount of land.

This was given an estimate of $40,000-60,000, but bidders quickly pushed past this to reach a stunning price of $120,750.

Previously a historic letter from Washington to another of his nephews, in which he set out his views in favour of an American Constitution sold for $3.2m.

These sales indicate just how strong a candidate George Washington autographs are as an investment. There is one currently on the market for interested collectors.



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