An exceedingly rare linchpin of the complete Declaration set—Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Signer of the Declaration of Independence from South Carolina and notably one of the most scarce signatures of any DOI signer, Thomas Lynch, Jr. exceptional ink signature as "Lynch" accompanied by a handwritten letter of provenance from Lynch's descendant Samuel Prioleau Hamilton. Lynch's descendant confirms the signature was "...cut out of his copy of Swift’s works published in 1764". Lynch's autograph is amongst the most scarce of any DOI signer second only to Button Gwinnett who has an approximate 30 less signatures in existence. Lynch retired from his duties less than a year after signing the DOI and was lost at sea two years later at the age of 30 being the youngest signer to die.
This signature is the only Lynch signature we have been able to find with the original family provenance still accompanying the signature. In the letter mounted below Lynch's signature, Lynch's descendant
Samuel Prioleau Hamilton writes in-part:
"By return mail I send you the only writing of Thomas Lynch Jr. I have. It is cut out of his copy of Swift’s works published in 1764. It can not be laid to his [Declaration of Independence] signature but it is undoubtedly his writing…I sent you long since a genuine signature ‘T. Lynch jr’ but so faded by having been exposed to the water as scarcely to be read. I think with the aid of a microscope you might reproduce in ink"
Further, the signature is CERTIFIED AUTHENTIC BY PSA/DNA Authentication Services EXPERT EXAMINATION. This is perhaps the only Lynch signature that has ever been offered with a full certification from PSA/DNA. Sale includes original PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity. GUARANTEED GENUINE - one of just 81 of Thomas Lynch, Jr. signatures in existence - the overwhelming majority of which are owned by public institutions.
With the rise of autograph collecting in nineteenth century America, one of the first areas of specialization was Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Apart from the Signers' central role in American history and the unusual significance of their autographs—after all, writing their names is what ensured their immortality—obtaining all 56 represented a goal that, with a little determination, could be achieved by a resourceful collector. It quickly became evident, however, that there were two notorious ‘stoppers’ among the Signers: Button Gwinnett and Thomas Lynch, Jr. It is not entirely clear which is rarer—while Gwinnett was generally thought to be the rarest of all signers, recent studies have proclaimed Lynch as the scarcer of the two.
This signature was originally sold in 2004 by Nate D. Sanders, Inc. for $26,000. The signature of Lynch measures 1"x.5" and is mounted to the larger sheet bearing the letter of provenance. Overall page measures 8.5"x11".
Sold as is, as shown.
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