John Hancock's signature from just before Declaration of Independence is for sale
Though it never really needs a boost, interest in collectibles from the birth of America as an independent nation got one last week with the sale of the final volume of the Harbottle Dorr collection of annotated Massachussetts newspapers from the 1760s-70s.

Whilst most Americana collectors will only have been able to watch as the set sold for $345,000 to their most natural owner: the Massachussetts historical society, which owns the other three volumes. They will soon be on view in an exhibition.

However, not all excellent pieces of memorabilia from the time are out of reach. Heritage is offering a highly covetable piece in their upcoming Signature Historical Manuscripts auction.

This is a John Hancock document signed as President of the Continental Congress: An extract from the Congressional minutes written in the hand of Charles Thomson, to be precise. Thomson countersigns as Secretary.

It is one page, measuring 7.25" x 9", headed "In Congress" [Philadelphia], March 20, 1776.

This Continental Congress resolution concerning the transport of British prisoners from Trenton can be found in the Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (ed. Worthington C. Ford et al. [Washington, D.C., 1904-1937], 4:220).

John Hancock signed document
One of the most famous signatures in the world: John Hancock

Written less than four months before the Declaration of Independence was approved, this resolution reads in full:

"Resolved that the Committee of Safety of the colony of New Jersey be desired to remove the prisoners from Trenton to just place or places in that colony as may thought convenient, at a proper distance from the sea and post road, subject to the regulations formerly made respecting prisoners. Resolved that all officer prisoners, who shall refuse to subscribe the parole ordered by Congress, be committed to prison.

Extract from the minutes.
[signed] Chas Thomson, Secry.
[signed] John Hancock, President."

The manuscript has been professionally restored to mend all separations at the folds, with a few pinholes of paper loss thereat, in one instance affecting the first 'o' in 'Thomson'. There is evidence of mat burn at the margins, with light chipping.

The ink is exceptionally bold, and makes a striking presentation and estimated at $10,000-$15,000 in Heritage's September 13 auction. Collectors on the lookout for first collectibles from the time will also be interested in this George Washington signed lottery ticket, which is available away from the sale.


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