Documents signed by Founding Fathers offered for sale by Philly dealer

A specially-curated collection of documents signed by the nation’s Founding Fathers, including George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, is being offered for $130,000 by a Philadelphia-based dealer.

The collection of six rare documents being sold by The Raab Collection shows the devotion and loyalty of America’s early political leaders and statesmen, including Washington’s 1783 letter to a soldier thanking him for his service during the Revolutionary War and Jefferson praising the spirit of the American people “which animates our nation” in an 1807 letter.

“They show the patriotism of these men at the beginning of our country’s history,” Nathan Raab, president of The Raab Collection, told “Each document has its own story to tell and each is evocative of a great and heroic figure.”

One document — dated June 9, 1783 — features the signature of General Washington on discharge papers from the Continental Army. Raab said Washington signed them personally to ensure that each soldier knew he was grateful for their service.

Another document shows President Jefferson condemning the violation of American neutrality in an 1807 letter to Capt. Abraham Horn, Jr., Lt. Thomas Rogers, Ensign John Deatrich and the Easton Light Infantry Company of the borough of Easton during the first call for war between the United States and Great Britain following the American Revolution, Raab said.


“The offer of your service in support of the rights of your country merits and meet the highest praise, & whenever the moment arrives in which these right must appeal to the public arm for support, the spirit from which your offer flows, that which animates our nation, will be their sufficient safeguard,” Jefferson wrote on June 22, 1807. “To the Legislature will be rendered a faithful account of the events which have so justly excited the sensibilities of our country, of the measures taken to obtain reparation, & of their result, & to their wisdom will belong the course to be ultimately pursued.”

The collection, which was announced for sale on Tuesday, also features a document from 1780 signed by Franklin, who was among those appointed in September 1776 by the Continental Congress to serve as joint commissioners to negotiate a treaty with France.

Franklin, then in his mid-70s, was perhaps the most famous American in the world at the time and quickly became an admired figure in Paris. He likely added to that affable reputation by lending his own personal funds to Silas Deane, America’s first foreign diplomat who was dispatched to France along with Franklin and Arthur Lee.

“Borrowed and received of Benjamin Franklin, the sum of Six Thousand Two Hundred Livres tounois, which I promise to repay on demand, witness my hand,” the document reads.

The money was apparently delivered by Franklin’s grandson, William Temple Franklin, which was serving as his secretary in France.

“These historical documents are the embodiment of the patriotic spirit of our Founding Fathers,” Raab said. “Having them together as one collection is a powerful reminder of the greatness that led to the founding of our nation.”

The collection also includes an 1822 letter by James Madison approving the “love of truth & devotion to the cause of science” and Vice President John Adams certifying the receipt of electoral votes for the 1792 presidential election.