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August 20, 2021

Rare, Alexander Hamilton-signed historical documents to be sold at Philly auction

Reports, letters and checks with the founding father's handwriting will be available for purchase in October

History Alexander Hamilton
Alexander Hamilton documents auction Philly Madeline Hill/Freeman's Auctions

A report from 1789 containing Hamilton's economic policies for the U.S. is expected to sell for as much as $50,000 this October.

American history buffs, and possibly even fans of the hit Broadway show "Hamilton," may be interested in an auction that's coming to Philadelphia this fall.

"The Alexander Hamilton Collection," a rare package of documents that were signed by the founding father, will be made available for purchase at Freeman's Auctions in Philly this October.

The collection was put together by John E. Herzog, who founded the Museum of American Finance in New York City.

Herzog's background in finance led to him developing a deep-rooted interest in Hamilton, specifically in documents from when the founding father served as the nation's first treasury secretary and helped establish the country's financial system. Hamilton served as treasury secretary under President George Washington from 1789-1795.

Herzog collected financial documents and other Hamilton-related material from the 18th century and the Federalist Era from 1789-1801, during which the founding father's political party controlled most of the U.S. government. The collection includes rare documents, autographed letters, checks and broadsides from U.S. history.

The collection is highlighted by the first printing of the "Report of the Secretary of the Treasury...for the Support of the Public Credit of the United States" from 1789. Consisting of Hamilton's economic policies for the newly-formed nation, the report is considered to be the landmark document of American capitalism. The document is estimated to go for $30,000-$50,000.

Other collection pieces focus on Hamilton's personal life, including a rare first edition of "Reynolds Pamphlet" that is expected to fetch $8,000-$12,000. The booklet is Hamilton's own summary of his affair with Maria Reynolds, where he admits to the relationship but claims that he was extorted by Reynolds and her husband, and insists that he wasn't being corrupt.

Two notable letters from the collection include one written in 1792 by Hamilton to John Hopkins, who at the time was Virginia's commissioner of loans, and another one from 1794 in which Hamilton wrote to Thomas Willing, the first president of the First Bank of the United States, about the U.S. repaying debts to France from the American Revolution.

Both letters are expected to go for $8,000-$12,000. An autographed check from Hamilton that was signed in 1795 is projected to sell for $5,000-$8,000.

The auction for Hamilton's signed documents will take place at Freeman's on Oct. 25.

A rare signers' copy of the Declaration of Independence was sold for $4.42 million at a Freeman's auction earlier this summer. The document's final price was more than five times its pre-auction estimate of $500,000-$800,000.

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