George Washington button leads Early American auction Dec. 9

George Washington inaugural button with ‘Long Live the President’ and ‘GW,’ 1789. Estimate: $7,000-$10,000. Early American image

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif. – Early American will sell nearly 300 lots of rare autographs, Colonial and Revolutionary War documents and early U.S. currency at auction Saturday, Dec. 9. One of the top items in the sale is a George Washington inaugural button. Absentee and Internet bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

The George Washington inaugural button is from 1789 and reads “LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT” and “GW.” It measures 34mm in diameter (1.36 inches) and is graded “choice extremely fine.” It is expected to sell for as much as $10,000.

Early copies of the Declaration of Independence are always of interest to collectors. An unusual copy of the historic document in the auction was printed on white silk in the form of a bandanna by William Woodruff circa 1820. Made in France, the unframed silk textile measures 20 by 27 ¾ inches.

Declaration of Independence printed on silk, circa 1820. Estimate: $4,000-$6,000. Early American image

Another momentous occasion in the founding of the United States was the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown, which is the subject of a circa 1800 hand-colored engraving. The image, which is in excellent condition, measures 8 ½ by 12 ½ inches (by sight) and 16 ¼ by 20 ½ (framed).

Engraving titled ‘The Surrender of Earl Cornwallis.’ Estimate: $400-$800. Early American image

The auction offers more than 40 lots of Colonial and Continental Congress-issued currency. Among the top examples is a 3-pound note – one of only 500 printed – signed by John Blair of Virginia, a Founding Father of the nation. The note is dated March 4, 1777.

March 4, 1773, Virginia James River Bank note, 3-pounds, one of only 500 printed, signed by John Blair. Estimate: $3,000-$4,000. Early American image

Abolitionism, the term that describes the movement to end slavery, was an important issue in England as well as America. A circa 1790 British antislavery token in the sale depicts a shackled and chained slave on his knees pleading, “Am I Not a Man and a Brother?” The metal token measures 29mm (about 1 ¼ inches) in diameter.

Circa 1790 superb antislavery token ‘Am I Not a Man and a Brother –
May Slavery’ and ‘Oppression Cease Throughout The World’ on the reverse side. Estimate: $2,000-$3,000. Early American image

The auction also contains more than 60 rare autographs, a selection of Abraham Lincoln and Civil War items, maps, and rare U.S. postage stamps.