Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation returns to the market at $8.4m

Keno Auctions has announced it is selling George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation. It is the second time in just over a year the document has been offered to collectors.

Washington Thanksgiving Proclamation
George Washington announced the day of thanks in 1789, but it wasn't until 74 years later that Lincoln made it an official national day

The proclamation was offered by Christie's in 2013 at $12m but failed to find a bidder. Keno Auctions is hoping a revised price tag of $8.4m will see the document - the only example in private hands - taken home by a collector.

The sale is being held with renowned dealer Seth Kaller, who is working on behalf of the document's current owner.

Leigh Keno said: "I'm excited to be working with Seth again. His expertise was invaluable earlier this year when Keno Auctions sold a historical draft of 'The Twelve Colonies by their Delegates in Congress to the Inhabitants of Great Britain' for $912,500 - a record price for an American Revolutionary War Manuscript at auction."

The proclamation was issued on October 3, 1789, with the president stating:

"Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being . . . That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks-for . . . the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness... for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge."

However, Thanksgiving wasn't made a national day until 74 years after Washington's proclamation, with Abraham Lincoln announcing several days of thanks during the civil war before designating the fourth Thursday in November as a permanent tradition.

Other items offered in the sale include a rare July 1776 printing of the Declaration of Independence at $1.2m, and the only known copy of Thomas Holmes' 1687 "Map of the Improved Part of the Province of Pennsilvania in America", which is priced at $375,000.

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