YONKERS, N.Y., Feb. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A long-lost letter of George Washington, reporting on an auction he held of ninety Virginia slaves, will appear in a New York sale on his birthday, February 22, 2017. It is only the letter's second appearance on the market since it was penned in 1774. Written by Washington on the very day that Thomas Paine arrived in America, the auction lasted ten days, including "two good blacksmiths, two carpenters, and an exceeding trusty and skilful wagoner."
Selling the slaves for a friend who had served under him in the French & Indian War, Washington's auction became a tortuous situation, haunting him for the rest of his life. The two-page letter shows Washington's character – and provoked his stark conflict between America's fight for freedom, and the evils of slavery. The very next day, Congress vowed to discontinue the slave trade.
From Washington's experience in this letter, through his encounters with free black soldiers, the Revolution just months away, and to his legacy, his views on slavery changed. He ultimately ordered emancipation of all of his slaves. (Preauction estimate $32,000-40,000) Lot 5-1; images and full description at http://cohascodpc.com/cat66/cat66-auction.html
Offered separately: an unusual 1848 reward poster for three black sisters escaped from slavery – in the nation's capital. Fleeing bondage in Georgetown, D.C., the women, aged 13, 20, and 25, were apparently servants of Washington's leading silversmith, whose customers had included George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
The three sisters, Harriet, Maria, and Susan Johnson, were caught, and again enslaved, despite its abolition by then in Washington. In 1864, their liberty was paid for by Lincoln. (Preauction estimate $6,500-9,000) Lot 1-2; image and full description at http://cohascodpc.com/cat66/cat66-auction.html
Among 440 other historical documents and collectibles in 30 categories:
- Very rare broadside of the Declaration of Independence, capturing its appearance before its ink faded from a previous printer's mishandling. Until this broadside was printed on rice paper in 1843, the physical appearance of the Declaration had remained a mystery to the American public. Also introducing America to John Hancock's signature, this never-folded, never-trimmed printing is considered the most faithful form in which our founding document can be beheld. ($18,000-23,000) ...
- Pay document for a recently-identified black soldier in the Revolutionary War, Kay Cambridge, signed with "His X Mark." Also signing is William Lawrence, involved in America's first spy ring, his wife once engaged to Nathan Hale. ($1600-2000) ...
- Exceptionally rare document paying an American Indian for fighting in the Revolution - under the leader of the fabled Green Mountain Boys. A Mohegan, Simon Georjoy fought at the historic Battle of Trenton, on Christmas Day 1776. ($950-1450) ...
- The only known painted portrait of a princess of the Renaissance, Anna Maria, of Sweden, as she appeared in 1580. A recent discovery in the realm of art and royalty, she appears in a rich silvery-white dress and black cloak, painted in oil on board. ($8000-11,000) ...
- One of the rarest of all Confederate autographs, Gen. John C. Carter of Georgia, killed at age 26 at Franklin, Tenn. ($2200-3200) ...
- Astonishing 23-page letter of Democrat James Denver, adventurer and founder of the Colorado city, on national politics in 1884: "...The corrupt practices that have been carried into the elections of the country exceed anything of the kind ever heard of before in America." ($350-425) ...
- Rare 1786 newspaper describing a mob in New Hampshire, demanding "equal distribution of property...annihilation of debts...release of all taxes" - and announcing the Constitutional Convention ($220-270).
Bids will be accepted up to February 22, 2017, 8:00 P.M. E.D.S.T. All items are fully described at http://cohascodpc.com. A 144-page printed catalogue is available by mail.
About Cohasco, Inc.: Established 71 years, Cohasco is a dealer in and auctioneer of historical documents, manuscripts, books, antiquarian materials and collectibles. Over the years they have handled the sale of numerous prominent collections, in a range of fields, from colonial to Confederate, mediaeval to modern. Past highlights included the lamps that illuminated Lincoln's wedding, an archive of America's first "mass-produced" automobile, the Duryea, and the Bible owned by Martin Luther King, Jr.'s mother, setting a world record price for a twentieth-century Bible.
SOURCE Cohasco, Inc.