'Earliest' George Washington manuscript exhibits in Pennsylvania, US

How were your drawing skills when you were 10-years-old? Our childhood works would probably pale next to George Washington's.

Believe it or not, this drawing of a sailboat, understood to be 270-years-old, is believed to have been sketched by the future first President of the United States when he was only 10. If genuine, this sketch would be the earliest-ever Washington manuscript.

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By George...? The sailboat sketch (credit: Tom Lingenfelter)

Its owner, Tom Lingenfelter, President of the Heritage Collectors' Society in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, plans to exhibit the drawing at Pennsylvania's Moland House from March 11 onwards. Moland House was Washington's headquarters in 1777.

Prior to this, Paul Fraser Collectibles was in possession of the earliest-known George Washington autograph in private hands. Eighteen-year-old Washington's signature was scribed on a land survey dated March 23, 1750-51. We have since sold the piece, but you can still learn more about it here.

As you can see, the sketch is remarkably detailed for a 10-year-old's work. It is signed "Geo. Washington" and dated "March 12th, 1742". The sketch is roughly the same size as a postcard.


Lingenfelter announced his discovery of the sketch earlier this week - and has good experience in George Washington memorabilia. His previous acquisitions have included a rare copy of the Declaration of Independence, later verified by forensics experts.

According to Lingenfelter, he bought the manuscript for $500 at an auction 10 years ago - even though the seller at the time warned him it may be a forgery.

"I had some money in my pocket and nobody else wanted it," said Lingenfelter, as quoted by History.com. "I thought the chances of it being genuine were slim, but the gambler in me bought it anyway."


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