Sotheby’s sale – Alexander Hamilton: An Important Family Archive of Letters and Manuscripts exceeded expectations by generating $2.6 million as the auction house capitalized on the historical figure’s surging popularity. All 77 lots: manuscripts, personal letters and other documents from founding father were sold, exceeding the $1.4 million to $2.1 million estimate. Fans of the musical, historians, political-science enthusiasts and collectors were eager to get their hands on the collection of documents made available by Hamilton’s descendants. The items came from a family collection passed down since the 18th century.
A 1777 document appointing Hamilton as aide-de-camp to General George Washington fetched $212,500 as part of the special auction on Wednesday from the family archives of the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, whose life inspired the Tony Award-winning musical “Hamilton.” A few minutes later, the earliest surviving love letter from Hamilton to his future wife Eliza, which began “My dearest girl,” sold for $118,750, surpassing the high estimate of $60,000.
The family archive also included a lock of Hamilton’s hair, which sold for $37,500.
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.