Today in history... George Washington resigns as leader of America's revolution

In 1775, the future 1st President of the United States, George Washington, was appointed Washington commander-in-chief of the American revolutionary forces.

The following year, he forced the British out of Boston, was defeated in New York City, then crossed the Delaware River in New Jersey and defeated two surprised British enemy units.

Thanks to Washington's strategy, the revolutionary forces captured the two main British combat armies in Saratoga and Yorktown.

Washington was always a leader of men. Amidst fears of failure and disintegration among the revolutionary forces, he held together a tenuous army and fragile nation; while simultaneously negotiating with Congress, the colonial states and the French Allies.

George Washington letter
George Washington's 'most important letter' endorsing the US Constitution, sold for $3.2m in December, 2009

Following the war's end in 1783, King George III heard rumours that Washington planned to humbly return to his farm.

"If he does that," stated the King, "he will be the greatest man in the world."

Washington did exactly that: returning to a private life of retirement on his plantation at Mount Vernon, US.

However, he later presided over the Philadelphia convention which drafted the first United Stations Constitution in 1787. Then, in 1789, George Washington became the 1st President of the United States.

Among historical figures whose character and tenacity has made an indelible mark in history, George Washington is one of the very greatest.

It is therefore of no suprise that Washington autographs are among the most sought-after by collectors - particularly signatures from the earlier years of his life.

The oldest George Washington autograph is in a museum. But at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we can reveal that the second oldest is on the market and available to private collectors.

Dated March 23, 1750-51, it is a handwritten land survey for 730 acres, owned by a gentleman called John Grub. The survey bears a remarkable signature: that of an 18-year-old George Washington.

Handwritten Washington-signed surveys are usually uncommon, and can provide an evocative and immediate window into the great statesman's early career.

But an example like the John Grub survey is of the utmost scarcity.

A one-of-a-kind and historic item like this is therefore a genuine 'Holy Grail' for autograph and memorabilia collectors - which is why it is valued at $99,000.

Elsewhere, earlier this year a letter by Washington to his nephew, Bushrod - described by experts as his 'most important letter' - in which he endorses the idea of a constitution of the United States, sold for an incredible $3.2m at Christie's.



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