George Washington (1732-1799) was the first President of the United States and a respected leader who helped steer the course of history during the American Revolutionary War. He is looked upon fondly by Americans as one of the great Founding Fathers.
At the time of signing, he had recently married Martha and moved with her to Mount Vernon near Alexandria, Virginia. Here, he became one of the richest men in Virginia, living the life of planter and politician.
He expanded the Mount Vernon estate to an impressive size and began to show more interest in politics, as he presented the Virginia Assembly with legislation to the importation of goods from Great Britain.
During this time, he was also an active leader of the Virginia social elite, inviting some of the most prominent figures to his estate. He lived the life of an aristocrat, enjoying fox hunting and dances, as well as the theatre, racing and cock fights.
It is likely that his dislike of British rule began with the Mountain Road Lottery, as during preparations, the British banned all lotteries and his plans were drastically altered.
This partially-printed page measures 2 7/8" x 1 3/8" and is in fine condition, with some light staining to the top and lower borders. The 1768 Mountain Road lottery ticket reads:
1768. This Ticket [No. 173] shall entitle the Possessor to whatever Prize may happen to be drawn against it's [sic] Number in the Mountain Road Lottery
The document is signed in brown/black ink, Go. Washington. Washington's autograph is particularly fine and demonstrates his flourishing, expressive penmanship.A fine filigree-style border design surrounds the text. Its intricate nature was possibly an attempt to avoid forgeries.
In 1768, a lottery was organised to fund road works in the area of Mountain Road. Improvements were needed in order to access the hot springs of Bath County, reputed to have healing properties. Washington acted as manager of the lottery. His signature on the tickets added credibility to the venture.
However, the lottery was never completed, as the British banned all lotteries just as tickets were selling. Perhaps this is the very point at which Washington's dislike of British rule began.
As Washington died over 200 years ago, it can be difficult to find examples of his signature that remain in good condition.
Being the first President of the United States, and a very popular figure from American history, Washington memorabilia is much sought after by both museums and private collectors. The combination of the lack of good quality Washington memorabilia and the high demand for it makes his signature very rare.
In 2009, a letter in which Washington argues in support of the adoption of the proposed new Constitution sold for $3,218,500. Another handwritten letter by the Founding Father sold for $834,500 back in 2009.
As well as handwritten letters, examples of the President's autograph can also sell for significant sums. In 2010, Paul Fraser Collectibles sold an accounts document signed by Washington for £29,950.
This is a rare opportunity to own a fine example of the first President of the United States' signature