Now that we've looked at these two monumental lots, let's look at material still interesting and historically significant, but more affordable for the everyday collector, say with low estimates of $100,000 on down (that was a half joke). These items will be listed in the auction catalog chronologically, as they are here. Lot 3 just makes this cutoff, with a low estimate of exactly $100,000, being a printed broadside signed by John Hancock denouncing taxes "imposed upon the People, without their Consent." Printed in 1768, this was an early foreshadowing of the conflict to come and is a superb example of perhaps the most well known American signature.
I opened this article by stating that nearly a quarter (thirteen of fifty-six) of the signers of the Declaration of Independence have their own autographs available in this sale. Lot 4 is one of the most difficult to find, behind only Button Gwinnett in rarity. The signature is that of Thomas Lynch, Jr., signer of the Declaration from South Carolina. According to Sotheby's, this Document Signed in Full, on behalf of his father, Thomas Lynch, Sr., is likely one of two Lynch signatures not in institutional collections. It also just skates by in our "affordable" category with an estimate of $100,000-150,000.
Now we're getting to an item potentially affordable for the more casual collector, yet nonetheless important. Printed in Philadelphia in 1797, Thomas Paine's Agrarian Justice is his proposal for a National Fund, a forerunner of today's Social Security Administration. He plainly states the objectives of his National Fund: "To Pay every Person, when arrived at the Age of Twenty-One Years, the Sum of Fifteen Pounds Sterling, to enable Him or Her to begin the World!" The entire text is available on the Social Security Administration's website. Paine's pamphet is available as lot 33 for an estimated $1,000-2,000.
Though he is known for the expedition that bears his name, Meriwether Lewis was not born directly into buckskin ready to take on the West. Prior to the travels that made him famous, he served as President Jefferson's private secretary. Lot 38 is an Autograph Letter Signed by Lewis to Dolley Madison, wife of Jefferson's presidential successor James Madison, referencing a dinner in the evening. Jefferson, having been a widower for two decades, relied on Mrs. Madison as his hostess for social functions. Lewis letters are rare, and this one is estimated $20,000-25,000.
While the material dating to the Civil War may not be as high profile as the signed Lincoln abolition documents, the sale's contingent is strong nonetheless. An interesting lot predating the outbreak of the war by less than four months is lot 66 (est. $20,000-30,000), which is an Autograph Letter Signed by Andrew Johnson, seventeenth President, as Senator from Tennessee, written from the Senate floor to a contemporary and provides Johnson's firsthand perspective on the secession crisis. Nearly three years after Johnson's letter in which he mentions "the secession feeling is losing ground here at this time," another Civil War item provides stark contrast to how much things changed in those few years. Lot 76 is a rare, first day of publication newspaper, with Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on the front page of The World. This printing of one of the most famous speeches in American history carries an estimate of $7,000-12,000.