Lot 108

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George Washington Signed Appointment for Dec. Signer William Ellery, From Ellery's Direct Descendant!

George Washington (1732-1799). Partially Printed Document Signed, "Go:Washington", 1p, measuring 11.25" x 8" and archivally affixed to a slightly larger supporting board, New York City, June 14, 1790. Flattened folds with minor separation. Expected age toning and scattered foxing. Accompanied by a Beckett Letter of Authenticity. 

Having taken office as President a little over a year prior, this appointment stands as one of the earliest presidential appointments to appear in the market and showcases the scarce "George Washington" bold-type press heading; one of just a handful of early presidential appointments of this early design to ever surface.

One of the finest George Washington signed documents we've ever had the pleasure to handle, the first President of the United States appoints fellow Founding Father and Declaration of Independence Signer William Ellery to the position of customs collector of "New-Port", Rhode Island. A rare appointment, well preserved and in excellent condition given its 233 years of existence!

William Ellery lived his entire life in Newport, Rhode Island. The Harvard College graduate was a merchant, lawyer, and state assembly clerk before serving as a Rhode Island delegate in the Continental Congress intermittently between 1776 and 1786. One of only two Rhode Island signers, Ellery's signature on the Declaration of Independence is second largest after Boston merchant John Hancock's. Between 1790 and 1820, Ellery served as Newport's Customs Collector and Lighthouse Superintendent. Ellery, who was vocal on the importance of a strong port and trade system for the burgeoning country, would hold this position for the entirety of the rest of his life, which amazingly spanned nearly thirty years and five presidential administrations until Ellery's passing at age 92 in 1820.

Amazingly, this document was held within the Ellery family line for the entirety of its existence and has been brought to market by the family of the late William Ellery Loring. Accompanying the document will be a copy of William Ellery Loring's Certificate of Recognition from the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, recognizing Loring as a direct descendant of William Ellery. 

While George Washington signed documents are scarce and desirable in any form, the fact that this piece serves as an appointment to a fellow Founding Father during the infancy of Washington's presidential administration makes it one of the most impressive Washington presidential pieces we've ever seen.

This lot comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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November 29, 2023 10:30 AM EST
Wilton, CT, US

University Archives

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