CAIRO – 27 June 2022: Bonhams Auctions displays a treasure of rare letters from American history including documents signed by United States founder George Washington.
The New York based books and manuscripts auction also includes a selection of documents belonging to Jesse James, Abraham Lincoln and the "extremely rare" letters of American gangster Jesse James (1847-1882). It will be auctioned next Tuesday.
One of the letters being auctioned is dated June 10, 1863, written and signed by Abraham Lincoln, in which the sixteenth US President signed a draft order for the first national draft.
According to the auction, the Enlistment Act of 1863 was the first truly national draft law and was passed when the American Army was facing a terrible shortage of men. This very document was signed on July 2, 1863, in Washington, D.C. and served as a draft order for the Sixth District of Massachusetts to supply about 1,806 soldiers.
The letter signed by Lincoln (1809-1865) is expected to sell for between $15,000 and $20,000.
There is also another letter written by Lincoln on June 10, 1862, requesting the exchange of a rebellious prisoner for one of his men, Dr. John MacGregor, expected to fetch between $12,000 and $18,000.
Lincoln is not the only president featured in the documents as a letter from George Washington, the first president of the United States, to Chief Engineer of the US Army Richard Gridley is also included.
In correspondence apparently dated 1777, Washington (1732-1799) asked the engineer about the fortifications in Boston. The letter, which Bonhams Auctions describes as "rare", is expected to fetch between $20,000 and $30,000.