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Artifacts from Revolutionary War, Civil War, more to be sold in US history-packed auction

George Washington, painting circa 1850, oil on canvas (M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, Public Domain)
August 11, 2022

An upcoming auction will feature letters, documents and artifacts related to American history, including pieces dating as far back as the Mayflower, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, western expansion, and beyond. 

University Archives (UA) announced July 29 that it will hold its largest ever auction on Aug. 17 with 537 lots boasting “a spectacular variety of items representing the best of U.S. Presidential, Early American, and Civil War/Western collecting categories. As always, we also have unique and superb offerings in Music, Entertainment, Sports, Space, Art, Literature, and more.”

Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, JFK and Obama will be represented at the massive auction, according to UA. Among the presidential items is “a document appointing an Irish immigrant named Thomas Lowry as the first United States Marshal of New Jersey” on Jan. 28, 1794, which is signed by George Washington. 

UA said “the history of American settlement, from the ‘Mayflower’ through the Early Federal period” will be “well represented” at the auction. 

A 1756 receipt for Benjamin Franklin’s “Pennsylvania Gazette” signed by Franklin will be available at the auction, as well as “a promissory note inscribed with over 25 words and signed by Benedict Arnold in 1771, four years before the Revolutionary War and nine years before his defection to the British.”

“Autograph letters signed, historical documents, cartes de visites, prints, and relics related to some of the biggest names in Civil War leadership and Western expansion will be offered at our August sale,” UA said. 

One of the items up for sale will be a “letter signed by Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson addressed to a correspondent named Truheart,” who UA believes “attended the 1859 execution of failed insurrectionist John Brown in addition to Jackson, who wrote about the hanging to his wife.”

“The letter concerning a lecture on hypnotism was written in 1852 when Jackson was teaching natural philosophy and artillery tactics at the Virginia Military Institute, seven years before the Harpers Ferry uprising,” the archives added. 

Additional items that will be available at the auction include a first edition copy of “The Babe Ruth Story” signed by the legendary baseball player himself, a pair of “beautifully framed Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio signed checks,” and an LP of “Blonde on Blonde” signed by Bob Dylan

“These are just a few of the remarkable and significant items that will cross the auction block at our August sale,” UA concluded. “We hope you can join us!”

Last year, a lock of former President George Washington’s hair from 1799 was auctioned off for tens of thousands of dollars.