Today in history... Thomas Jefferson is chosen as US President

On this day, one of the most influential Founding Fathers, instrumental for his promotion of the ideals which formed the United States, was chosen as the third US President.

A proven polymath - as a horticulturist, political leader, architect, archaeologist, palaeontologist and inventor - Thomas Jefferson is consistently ranked by scholars as one of the US's greatest presidents.

Consequently, like George Washington and John Adams before him, Jefferson's legacy has been felt on the memorabilia markets on numerous occasions.

Last month, a letter written to Jefferson by Washington during the latter's presidency auctioned at Freeman's with an estimate of $15,000-25,000.

The one of a kind letter, mentioning that Washington has approved "measures" and encourages Jefferson to put them into effect, sold for dead-on its high estimate: $25,000.

A letter from George Washington to Thomas Jefferson ($25,000)

A more unusual auction was scheduled to take place at Christie's - the sale of a memento mori watch key once owned by Jefferson containing hair from Jefferson's deceased wife, Martha.

Martha died aged 33 in 1782, after which Jefferson never remarried and, some would say, never emotionally recovered.

Despite its remarkable provenance and an estimated worth of $40,000-80,000, the watch has yet to find a new buyer.

If the watch emerges again at auction, it will be just one of many valuable items of Jefferson memorabilia likely to appear on the future collectors' markets.

Meanwhile, once such piece of historic memorabilia - this time attached to George Washington - is also available to collectors. An accounts document listing the payment of slave labour has been valued at £29,950 ($49,420).


Image: Freeman's

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