Alexander Hamilton's letters to be auctioned in NYC Javier Munoz, who plays Alexander Hamilton in the Broadway musical, "Hamilton," reacts as he looks at a document, part of a trove of artifacts and letters written by or pertaining to one of America's founding fathers, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, at Sotheby's in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Alexander Hamilton's letters to be auctioned in NYC
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The hottest Broadway show is shining its spotlight on a collection of historic American documents: Alexander Hamilton's letters, being auctioned at Sotheby's.
 
Hamilton is one of America's founding fathers. He died in 1804.
 
Javier Munoz, who plays him in the Broadway musical, got teary-eyed Jan. 10 as he held the only known letter from Hamilton's son Philip to the man addressed as "Papa." The son asks his father for advice on a written presentation, noting that his mentor had deleted a sentence Hamilton liked best.
 
"I'm overwhelmed," said Munoz, who held the delicate old piece of paper unprotected, asking permission to flip it over. "It's sort of like walking into someone's apartment and looking at the desk where they work. And that's so revealing about how their mind works."
 
Dozens of the letters penned by one of the nation's founding fathers will go on the block Jan. 18, with an estimated worth starting at $1.4 million and topping $2 million. But Sotheby's expects the feverish interest in the megahit "Hamilton" likely will drive prices up.
 
The most valuable item of the auction, estimated at $300,000 to $500,000, is one of Hamilton's "Pacificus" essays probing a contentious issue - George Washington's declaration of his nation's neutrality in the conflict between France and Great Britain.
 
"This is a unique conjunction of historical material with the popular zeitgeist," said Selby Kiffer, the auction house's expert on books and manuscripts. "I have not experienced anything like this before."
 
The designer of the show's sets, David Korins, also created parts of Sotheby's Americana exhibit space that includes the kind of furniture and art that surrounded Hamilton in his daily life.
 
Above the displays, Korins strung bungee-like tension cords in red, white and blue as links leading visitors around, reflecting the threads of an American flag.
 
Munoz said that reading Hamilton's private thoughts on everything from his love life and political career to war and even gardening will have a deep effect on his performance, especially details that don't appear on Broadway.
 
"Part of the awe for me is how casual so much of this is," said Munoz, who with Korins giggled as they pored over one letter in which Hamilton writes flirtatious words to his sister-in-law, Angelica Church.
 
People expect every word and letter of such manuscripts to be lifted to historical dimensions, Munoz said, "meanwhile, it's like, 'hey, how are you?' - you know, like my tweet to somebody, or I just texted my mom."
 
The letters belong to Hamilton's descendants.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are these letters so revealing?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (75)
  • annd-pay
    1/20/2017 - 08:15 a.m.

    if only one of Alexander Hamilton's works cost an estimation at $300,000 to $500,000, then all of his works together would cost more than a million.

  • melaniem-pay
    1/20/2017 - 08:25 a.m.

    These letters are revealing because they give in an inside look on how hamilton used to think. By reading these letters, one can understand better how he was as a person, almost like reading someones diary. As stated in the article by Munoz, "It's sort of like walking into someone's apartment and looking at the desk where they work".

  • asiar-pay
    1/20/2017 - 08:26 a.m.

    The letters written by him reveal numerous historical events during the time period it happened. It can be used in many ways and reveals all the stuff that happened during that time truthfully. This could benefit many people who are in that profession.

  • danishh-pay
    1/20/2017 - 08:29 a.m.

    These letters are so revealing of Alexander Hamilton's personality because they are deeply personal and are written to or by people close to him. For example, according to this article, the collection contains the only known letter from Hamilton's son Philip to the man addressed as "Papa." The son asks his father for advice on a written presentation, noting that his mentor had deleted a sentence Hamilton liked best. Such close and personal letters always reveal the personality of the people related to them.

  • malakaig2-pay
    1/20/2017 - 08:47 a.m.

    These letters from Hamilton show how though history and its law are complicated, yet these personal letters are as simple letters of communication. Mirroring today simple texting. Javier Munoz who play's Alexander, feel and gets relive the moments that Hamilton had gone through all of his life. Simplistic but emotional, it is no wonder why these auction are biding to high. I love play. I happy to see that the history itself is getting the attention ti deserves.

  • rheav-pay
    1/20/2017 - 08:51 a.m.

    The letter is special but not that special. In this letter its just a brief letter to his sister-in-law. Had the letter been more about his political views or a message to another well known politician in his time it would be worth more. Therefor I predict it will sell for less than 300,000 from comparison to his declaration of neutrality.

  • jadaf3-pay
    1/20/2017 - 09:03 a.m.

    I believe that the documents would sell for 1mill or more because he was a important president in the making of us history.

  • samuels3-pay
    1/20/2017 - 09:16 a.m.

    Wow. This is cool. I can imagine the size of the pockets of the person selling. Few million? 2-4 million. Yeah, something like that.

  • tiaraf2-pay
    1/20/2017 - 09:16 a.m.

    These letters are so revealing because Hamilton is one of the founding fathers of America. It is also a collection of historic American documents. They are important and auctioning them off could mean that they are going to be very special to someone.

  • rheannae2-pay
    1/20/2017 - 09:18 a.m.

    I believe that Hamilton's paper will sell for a lot of money because it is very popular and it is very known.

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