A rare Declaration of Independence! Thomas Lynch Jr's autograph is for sale

We've written before about the draw of the Declaration of Independence for Americans and in particular about the popular goal of attempting to assemble a complete set of autographs for all those whose pens caressed the document.

The most coveted of these (included on our Top Five elusive autographs list) is not Washington, Franklin or Jefferson, but Button Gwinnett, an infrequent signer and victim of premature death in a duel fought with a bitter political foe.

However, just because Gwinnett's is the very hardest to get hold of doesn't make it the only one which collectors have to hunt high and low for. Two of the others are included in an online sale which is closing in two days' time:

Firstly, there is a note from Pennsylvania signer George Taylor. Taylor wasn't actually present at the vote, being brought in in place of a delegate who refused to vote for independence. Nevertheless, as the only signer to have once been a servant, Taylor perhaps knew the value of freedom and independence more than most.

George Taylor signed autograph manuscript letter
George Taylor's signed autograph letter

The autograph letter signed by Taylor is dated November 1780 and refers to business in Taylor's trade of ironmongery. Very rare indeed, the note is expected to sell for $60,000-80,000.

The star lot however is one which contrasts with the above. The signer had a privileged upbringing in his native South Carolina (though this involved an education in England at Eton and Cambridge) in contrast to Taylor's status as a poor Irish immigrant.

Yet Taylor had the better of fortune after the declaration - by the time Taylor sent his note in 1780, Thomas Lynch, Jr was already dead.

The one page letter written from Charlestown to George Laurence Eaton, Esquire reads as follows: "I am happy to extend to you the enclosed letter on his Excellys. account. I shall explain to my Father the visit and the reason. With great esteem I have the honor to be your friend."

It actually dates to shortly before the Declaration of Independence: March 1776. Thomas Lynch, Jr had by then already contracted the fever which was to ruin his health during military service in 1775. This worsened with the years.

Thomas Lynch Jr signed autograph manuscript
Thomas Lynch Jr signed autograph letter

In 1779, Lynch and his wife sailed for France to seek medical attention, but their ship was lost at sea.

Considered the rarest signature other than Gwinnett's (due to the scattering of his papers and the loss of many in a fire) Lynch's autograph is here expected to sell for $200,000-250,000. The sale closes on Wednesday.

Collectors who would like to get their hands on the autograph of a signer of the Declaration - none other than First President George Washington himself - should look at a lottery ticket which we're offering with our 120% guarantee.

But better still... we actually have one of the Peter Force recreations of the Declaration itself!

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