Published: November 22, 2022
PHILADELPHIA — On November 15, Freeman’s offered two sales in back-to-back sessions, the first of 24 lots of Books & Manuscripts: Rare Americana; the second, 226 lots of American Furniture, Folk and Decorative Arts. Earning the highest price of the day at $2,389,500, for a letter written to Thomas Jefferson by George Washington on September 18, 1787, the day after the US Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Convention. The letter, which Washington sent along with a copy of the Constitution, had an interesting history, being first presented by Jefferson to Amos J. Cook, the preceptor of the Fryeburg Academy in Maine. Cook then gave the letter to Frederick Blanchard Osgood, a trustee of the school. It remained in Osgood’s family until it was sold at Christie’s in 2006, when it sold for $273,600 to a private collector who had consigned it to Freeman’s. Estimated at $1/1.5 million, the $2,389,500 price realized from a private collector is the second highest price paid for a Washington-signed letter.
The top lot of the American furniture, folk and decorative arts sale was an 1890 44-star American national flag commemorating the statehood of Wyoming, which flew from a $15/25,000 estimate to $53,550, from a Midwestern private collector. All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house; watch for a more extensive sale recap in a future issue.
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