Discover why George Washington could wash away US investors' blues

It's been another dark day in the world of US economics, as a panel of 50 leading experts declared that there will be yet more difficulties on the road to recovery for America. 

The group announced a negative adjustment on their projected figures for economic growth in the country. 

The figure was revised down for the third month in a row, with Gross Domestic Product, the measure of the overall of economic national output, now expected to grow by a meagre 1.6% over the coming quarter.

It's yet another piece of bad news for the US, with unemployment rising to 9.6% in July. And all on what was traditionally seen as a momentous day in American history.

It was September 9, 1791, that a newly formed city in the District of Columbia was christened Washington DC in honour of the 1st President of the United States, George Washington.

Signed by Washington,
sold by Paul Fraser collectibles
£29,950 ($49,420)

And whilst investors remain cautious of the traditional investment markets, in the wake of the current economic climate, memorabilia from the man dubbed "the Father of America" continues to demonstrate the potential returns of investing in collectibles.

In March 2010, a letter written by Washington to his nephew came to auction in Maine with an estimated price of £25,880 ($40,000).

The letter discussed family matters, as well as giving marital and inheritance advice. Incredibly, the letter sold for £78,300 ($121,000) - an increase of 202% on the target price.

These kinds of returns are not uncommon either.

Another US auction in January 2010, saw a rare cheque signed by Washington in his twilight months following his Presidency come up for sale with an estimated price of $8,000.

Yet again, this price was smashed with a final sale of £14,600 ($22,500) - a massive 193.75% increase on the estimated price.

The value of these collectibles is only set to increase if invested in with a view to the long term.  While a two year holding period will see the 280 year anniversary of Washington's birth, 2032 will see the 300 year celebration of this date.

The First President of the United States also occupies a position whereby the value of his signature and collectibles will never disappear. They are underpinned by a population of America which currently stands at around 310 million. 

Coupled with this is the size and dominance of US collectors in the current market for George Washington pieces, which has already helped to drive prices up within the market.

The current world record price for a George Washington collectible was set for a single letter, written by Washington to his nephew Bushrod.

Although there are numerous valuable examples of letters written and signed by Washington on the market, it was the content of this piece which specifically gave it such a high value.

The earliest known signature of Washington,
also sold by
Paul Fraser Collectibles

In the letter, Washington openly endorsed the idea of a US constitution. Ultimately, the piece's historic and patriotic importance saw the letter sell for £2.08m ($3.22m) at Christie's in New York in December 2009.

The price was made all the more impressive by the fact that the piece had carried a pre-auction estimate of £1.62m ($2.5m).

Even with such a high estimate, the piece still exceeded this figure by £466,000 ($720,000) or 28.8%.

Ultimately, an investment in George Washington collectibles is made all the more appealing when you consider the current forecast for the global economy.

While US GDP is predicted to grow further in 2011, this figure remains 1.2% below the previously projected levels.

Given that surrounds these figures have fallen below expectations over the last three months, it's not completely without foundation to suggest that this trend could continue.

More recently, as the traditional US markets struggled to make profit, a June 2010 auction in America saw a George Washington autographed letter from 1782 sell for £61,870 ($95,600.)

With signed documents offering collectors the perfect blend of patriotism and history, there's never been a better time to invest with a view to holding in the long term. Especially when you consider that some pieces are available for as little £7,100 ($11,000).

In times of trouble Americans often refers to their traditional motto of "In God we trust."

For those looking to make a safe investment in the United States it may just come down to trusting in the long term value of George Washington collectibles.


Join our readers in 193 countries around the world - sign up for your free weekly Collectibles Newsletter today


Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock