Thomas Jefferson signed letter makes $19,000 at Swann Auction Galleries

A handwritten, signed letter written by American founding father and author of the American Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson has sold for $19,200.

Thomas Jefferson auction
A draft of the present letter – written on the verso of James Madison’s letter to Jefferson – resides at the Library of Congress in Washington

The 1822 document was the star lot at Swann Auction Galleries' autograph auction, held yesterday evening (May 23) in New York.

The letter, addressed to James Madison, reads: "I thank you for the communication of Mr Rush's letters which I now return."

The greater part of its content relates to Alexander the Great of Russia who Jefferson has a rather low opinion of.

"Mr Bentham's [likely a reference to celebrated utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham] character of Alexander [the Great of Russia] is I believe just. he is now certainly become the watchman of tyranny for Europe, as dear to it's oppression as detestable to the oppressed."

Jefferson signs off: "I set out for Bedford tomorrow to be absent three weeks".

An autograph album containing over 300 signed and inscribed items also proved popular, making $15,200.

Politicians, musicians, authors and artists are represented in the album, which includes a Lewis Caroll autographed note, a Theodore Roosevelt autograph and brief letter from inventor extraordinaire Thomas A Edison.  

Two typed and hand-signed letters composed by Nobel Prize winning physicist Albert Einstein brought $10,800, while a formal Albert Einstein autographed photograph sold for $7,500.

Autographs and important autographed documents are highly collectible, and tradable, commodities.

Our sister site, PFC Auctions, is currently accepting bids on a raft of rare autographs, including this fabulous Michael Jackson autographed fedora.

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