CHESAPEAKE CITY, Md., Dec. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Twenty-seven years ago, an antiques "picker" stumbled upon the find of a lifetime at a small Pennsylvania country auction. In a tale straight out of an "Antiques Roadshow" episode, among the old and dusty boxes of tools and Mason jars full of buttons were boxes of items from the estate of Mina von Steuben, a direct descendant of Gen. Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben. The German-born von Steuben came to America in 1777 to train and discipline the fledgling Continental Army, saving it from destruction by the British. Among the items discovered was the general's incredibly rare Society of the Cincinnati medal, awarded to heroes of the Revolution, found mixed in a box of costume jewelry. Also uncovered were von Steuben's English-German dictionary, his copy of the army regulations he drafted, and his ornate shoe buckles, cane and vest.
After residing in a private collection for nearly thirty years, these historic relics will be offered at auction in Wilmington, Delaware on December 10th by Alexander Historical Auctions. This Society of the Cincinnati medal is one of only four known examples of its type, and even that venerable Washington institution, which has inspected it, does not possess one.
The sale includes over 300 additional items representing America's colonial history including a desperate letter sent by Massachusetts representatives Joseph Warren, Artemas Ward and Moses Gill begging the New York Congress to supply them with desperately-needed gunpowder. None came, and two weeks later Warren and fellow patriots would be killed at Bunker Hill…when they ran out of gunpowder.
Also to be offered is a 1776 Congressional resolution signed by John Hancock which urgently raises troops to protect Boston from a British invasion by sea, as well as an impassioned letter from an American privateer describing the battles of Lexington and Concord and violently attacking the British as an "Ignoble Multitude of Despicables."
- Documents written by Salem Witch Trials figures Cotton Mather and Samuel Sewall.
- A rare document written and signed by Benjamin Church, father of the U.S. Army's Rangers.
- An appointment of important Revolutionary War officers to negotiate a peace treaty with the Iroquois.
- A near-perfect 1779 "Brown Bess" musket with bayonet, the preferred weapon of the British army.
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SOURCE Alexander Historical Auctions