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Alexander Hamilton’s Manuscripts, Personal Letters and Even a Lock of Hair Sell for $2.6 Million at auction

25 January 2017

Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction

Did you know that Alexander Hamilton’s letters were sold at an auction for $2.6 million?

Before we get to his letters being sold, we need to have a short lesson of history, because some of you might not be familiar with Alexander Hamilton.

Let me tell you that he was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, an influential interpreter and promoter of the US Constitution, as well as the founder of the nation’s financial system.

After he was abandoned by his dad and orphaned by his mother, a wealthy family took him under their wing. Later on he was recognized for his intelligence and talent. Sponsored by a group of wealthy local people, he traveled to New York City to pursue his education.

From there to being one of the Founding Fathers was just a small step, because many people have seen what he was capable of.

His face was on a lot of US currency notes, but in 2015 they wanted to replace the engraving of Hamilton with that of a woman; however the bill didn’t go through the changes because of the unanticipated success of the 2015 Broadway musical “Hamilton”.

The musical that won the 2015 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, was also the reason why Sotheby’s sold Hamilton’s documents for such an impressive amount.

Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction
Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction

His manuscripts, personal letters and hundreds of other documents, including a lock of his hair was sold Wednesday at Sotheby’s in New York for $2.6 million.

“What is so unusual about this is it’s a cohesive integral whole that’s survived since the 18th century. The pieces interrelate and inform each other. It’s rare to have correspondence back and forth,” said Selby Kiffer, Sotheby’s international senior specialist for books and manuscripts.

Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction
Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction

Fans of the musical, collectors, historians, and many other important people were eager to get their hands on the collection of documents made available for action by Hamilton’s descendants.

All the items came from a family collection passed down since the 18th century.

Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction
Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction

Seven of his letters and manuscripts sold for more than $100,000 individually, according to Sotheby’s.

“Pacificus VI,” a draft essay written by Pacificus, which was Hamilton’s pseudonym while writing “The Federalist Papers,” sold for $262,500.

Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction
Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction

In the essay, unknown to the public before its introduction at the auction, Hamilton debates James Madison about America’s neutrality in foreign tensions.

Among the manuscripts, letters and documents was also a lock of Hamilton’s hair, which sold for $37,500.

Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction
Alexander Hamilton’s Letters Sell for $2.6 Million at Auction

In total, the auction’s sales broke the previous record for any document handwritten by Hamilton, set back in 2001 with $44,650 paid for a single manuscript, according to Sotheby’s.