Richard III signed document tops estimate by 628.3%

As we've reported previously, a Californian auction house is all set to offer both exceptional stamps and rare space memorabilia, the latter including a space-flown item signed by Neil Armstrong.

But Neil Armstrong is by no means the only notable figure from America's history whose autograph appears in the auction.

In fact one signature dates back to before America existed as a sovereign nation at all: a 1768 John Hancock autograph dating to before the American War of Independence.

The name 'John Hancock' is of course synonymous with 'autograph' for Americans, due to his very large and distinctive signature on the Declaration of Independence.

John Hancock autograph document
John Hancock handwritten document complete with autograph

This example is on a Boston document dated March 15-17, 1768 - an eventful year for Hancock as his ship 'The Liberty,' was confiscated by the British. The signature isn't as ornate as many later examples which is perhaps why it is estimated at just $1,500-$2,500. Other Hancock signatures have raised far more.

The signature is most likely to have from a receipt book, and it is accompanied by two others: Joshua Gardner and Caleb Call.

Collectors focussed on the signers of the Declaration of Independence will be excited to hear that we have a truly exceptional example of first President George Washington's autograph in stock on a lottery ticket.

Alternatively, we have pieces of both Washington's hair and that of his Vice-President (later the second President) John Adams.

Read more about the signers of the Declaration of Independence here.

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