Anyone looking to start, add to or complete their collection of signers of the Declaration of Independence will have that opportunity in University Archives’ next online-only auction, set for Wednesday, May 15, 2019, starting at 10:30 AM ET. All but one of the Declaration’s 56 signers will be offered as individual lots – not as a set – many for the first time.
“Rarely do you see a nearly complete set of Declaration signers come up for bid, especially as single lots,” said John Reznikoff, president of University Archives. “Some of these signatures have been off the market for a hundred years. This is a rare opportunity for collectors to own a piece of American history, or more than one piece if they’re filling in spaces in their collections.”
Mr. Reznikoff is no stranger to Declaration signers. Twice before he’s sold several complete once for well over $1 million. “That was one of the finest sets in existence, and the buyer was more than happy to pay that much,” Reznikoff said. He added that he’s probably sold more Declaration signer material than any other auction house or dealer alive.
Button Gwinnett – the only signer not in the auction – was a British-born American Founding Father and Georgia’s representative to the Continental Congress. He also served briefly as Georgia’s provisional president. The reason his signature is so rare is that he was killed in a duel by rival Lachlan McIntosh following a dispute after a failed invasion of East Florida, in 1777.
But the rest of the signers – from John Hancock to John Adams to Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Adams to George Wythe – are all in the sale, to include George Taylor (opening bid: $8,500); Arthur Middleton ($7,000); Thomas Lynch ($5,000); and Francis Lightfoot Lee ($3,000). The Declaration announced and explained the United States’ separation from England.
Live bidding for the auction will be posted by April 25. That’s when the full catalog will be available for view, at www.UniversityArchives.com. As with all University Archives auctions, it will be loaded with rare, highly collectible autographed documents, manuscripts, books, photos and relics. Internet bidding will also be available via Invaluable.com and LiveAuctioneers.com.
In addition to the Declaration signers, other noteworthy consignments include four items signed by Abraham Lincoln and two items signed by George Washington (with possibly more of each on the way); a large aviation archive; a letter written and signed by Founding Father and political theorist Thomas Paine; plus the usual smattering of scarce, curated and highly collectible items.
As with all University Archives online auctions, this one will be packed with important, rare and collectible signed documents and other items relating to some of the most famous names in all of history. The firm has become world-renowned as a go-to source for rare material of this nature.
University Archives is currently seeking quality material for future auctions. The deadline to consign for the May 15 sale has technically passed, but if anyone has an item or collection that might complement the trove of Declaration signers or other material pertaining to U.S. history, they may contact John Reznikoff, at (203) 454-0111, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We can offer up to a 100% cash advance and a highly competitive commission structure,” Reznikoff said. “We’re only able to do this owing to our position in the industry as the premier auction house for signed historical documents, letters and manuscripts. Our reputation is rock-solid worldwide and has been earned over a period of four decades. People respect us globally.”
University Archives was founded in 1979, as a division of University Stamp Company, by John Reznikoff, who started collecting stamps and coins in 1968, while in the third grade. Industry-wide, Reznikoff is considered the leading authenticity expert for manuscripts and documents. He consults with law enforcement, dealers, auction houses and both major authentication companies.
For more information about University Archives and the Wednesday, May 15 internet-only auction, visit www.universityarchives.com. For phone bidding, call (800) 237-5692.