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Dealer seeks $2.5 million for John Hancock letter with a NH connection

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 17. 2017 11:58PM

A California auction house is selling a letter it says was written by John Hancock to accompany a copy of the Declaration of Independence to New Hampshire in 1776. (COURTESY)

A California rare documents dealer is asking $2.5 million for a letter he says was from John Hancock that accompanied a copy of the Declaration of Independence to New Hampshire in 1776.

“This is just as important as the Declaration,” said Gary Zimet from Moments in Time in Studio City, Calif.

Hancock is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the Declaration, so much so that the term John Hancock has become a synonym for one’s signature.

“Given it is to New Hampshire, I’m sure your readers will be fascinated,” Zimet said by phone Tuesday.

“Perhaps someone like Dan Brown, who’s into history, will buy it,” Zimet said of the best-selling author, who lives in Rye.

Zimet said a client purchased the Hancock letter in an auction 35 years ago for $29,000.

“If it were the Declaration itself, we’d be talking 15, 20 million” for an asking price, he said.

The letter, written on the front and back of one page, hasn’t been authenticated, said Zimet, who says he’s been selling rare letters, manuscripts and memorabilia for nearly 40 years,

“There’s no authentication needed if you know what you’re looking at,” he said.

The letter, according to Zimet, reads in part: “Impressed with this Sentiment and at the same time fully convinced that our affairs will take a more favorable turn, The Congress have judged it necessary to dissolve all connection between Great Britain and The American Colonies and to declare them free and independent States as you will perceive by the enclosed Declaration... .”

Emma Bray, director at the American Independence Museum in Exeter, said her museum has one of 26 surviving copies of the Declaration of Independence from its first official printing in 1776.

Bray declined to comment on the online sale.

She said Zimet hasn’t contacted the museum.

“We are always interested in learning more about this period and how it relates to the history of Exeter and the Revolutionary War,” Bray said.

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