George Washington's Inaugural Address manuscript stirs collectors to $182,000

Christie's held a manuscript sale this week, in which the stand out lots were two great pieces of Americana relating to America's early founding father Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

The Washington Manuscript is an autograph leaf from his undelivered First Inaugural Address, neatly paginated "35" and "36" by Washington, containing approximately 320 words in the President-elect's hand.

Along the narrow margin of page 35 is Jared Sparks's inaccurate inscription: "Washington's handwriting, but not his composition."

George Washington Inaugural Address
A page from George Washington's Inaugural Address

This exceptional, two-page manuscript leaf from Washington's undelivered first Presidential inaugural address sees the President-elect forcefully declaring that the American people - who had recently won independence after a long struggle - can never forget "the difference between freedom and slavery" and will always cherish "that pre-eminent blessing, the birthright of Freemen".

It discusses policies to be instituted "to restore our public credit"; expounding on the great promise and opportunities created by the discovery of the New World, and, in an almost visionary passage, envisioning the new nation's eventual expansion over "so large a portion of the earth."

He stresses the importance of education to the new nation, and prophetically asserts the power of information and technology, noting that Americans are "ingenious for making improvements."

The leaf sold towards the top of its expected range, at $182,000, but it was not the top lot in the sale. That honour went to the Jefferson piece.

This was an autograph letter signed ("Th:Jefferson") to the Philadelphia publisher Matthew Carey in which the retired President waives the copyright on his 'manual of parliamentary procedure'.

George Washington, signed lottery ticket
George Washington signed lottery ticket
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Even better, it came with an autograph manuscript, comprising five pages from the original manuscript of his Manual of Parliamentary Procedure, probably drafted in the Summer of 1800, as Jefferson prepared to have it printed for the use of Congress.

It is written in Jefferson's minute handwriting, and bidders were impressed enough to offer $218,500.

Documents written and/or signed by the founding fathers are of course greatly coveted, which is why we are so confident in offering this lottery ticket signed by George Washington with our unique 120% guarantee.


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