George Washington signed books expected to see $1.5m at Sotheby's

The largest collection of books signed by George Washington to be offered for sale since 1904 will auction through Sotheby's as part of its June 4 sale of The Library of a Distinguished American Book Collector.

To this day, Washington's library is maintained by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, who took possession of his estate in 1860 and continues to build collections

The seven books originate from the first president's Mount Vernon Library, each featuring his signature and personal bookplate. They are expected to account for $1.5m of the $5m estimate for the auction.

This is the largest group of books from Washington's renowned library to appear at auction since the collection of Bishop John Fletcher Hurst sold in 1904. Starring is Jonathan Swift's The Beauties of Swift and Joseph Priestley's Discourses Relating to the Evidences of Revealed Religion.

While these seven books form the undoubted highlight of the sale, several other Washinton items will also be offered, including a fresh copy of the 1754 Journals of George Washington, which is valued at $100,000-150,000. A signed letter in which Washington discusses his securing of New York during the revolutionary war will follow, valued at $70,000-100,000.

In June 2012, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association, which currently cares for the Mount Vernon Library, placed the final $9.8m bid on Washington's personal copy of the US Constitution, a price that secured the record of the most valuable American book ever sold at auction.

More of the collection's prized tomes include Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, a classic American poetry anthology, which is sure to see strong bids at $120,000-180,000, and an "unusually tight, bright" copy of Moby Dick, which will sell for $40,000-60,000.

The "Library of a Distinguished American Book Collector" was formed over three decades, with a particular passion for American history and literature. Paul Fraser Collectibles shares this passion, with a remarkable holding of presidential items for sale and a rare copy of the most important document ever signed in the nation's history - the Declaration of Independence.

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