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
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

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.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 62 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are these letters so revealing?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (75)
  • niyyirahy-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:04 a.m.

    I think that Hamilton's papers will at least sell for about 2 million dollars. His papers probably would sell for that much since he was one of the nations founding father.Since he was a founding father he is really important to some people;since he is that important i fell that his paper would be sold for 2 million or more.

  • andream-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:05 a.m.

    Hamilton's papers will be sell in very high profits. 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. I believe, the prices should be a little bit higher. Come on he is one of the founding fathers very IMPORTANT!

  • jodieh-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:05 a.m.

    i think Hamilton's papers can sell for millions of dollars even though they are not all historical. The reason why i think this is because these papers are very ancient and the older they are the more value they have.

  • derrickc-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:10 a.m.

    After reading this article it only confirms my beliefs that Hamilton's papers could sell for about 2 millions. Based on CNN Some of Hamilton's paper recently sold for 2.6 million in an auction.

  • michaelc1-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:11 a.m.

    The Hamilton Letters will be sold for 2.4 million dollars because the Broadway show whose main character is Alexander Hamilton has exalted Hamilton's fame in current pop culture. Many fans of the show will want to purchase the letters therefore increasing its value.

  • ashantir-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:11 a.m.

    these letters are so revealing it shows the a unique conjunction of historical material with the popular zeitgeist like selby kiffer said and people don't excpet every word and letter of such manuscripts to be lifted to historical dimensions.

  • nicholasb-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:12 a.m.

    Alexander Hamilton was one of most famous writers to ever live. His works consisted of the most important American documents and he was also a founding father. I estimate that his letter will go for about 2.4 million dollars.

  • melanieh-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:37 a.m.

    In reality, just like any historical papers..... They will be valued and will continue to raise in that as time progresses, so by this my estimates will be in the millions, one way or another. Every letter has its significance so worth will change, however they all will DEFINITELY exceed some average annual wages.

  • taniellem-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:56 a.m.

    Alexander Hamilton's letters will be valued at a minimum price of $1.6 million and a maximum price of $2.1 million. These letters are the key of looking in the life of Alexander and see what he thought of other people.

  • tatianab-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:57 a.m.

    Those papers will be selling for at least two million dollars, because they are prized artifacts. These letters are so revealing, because they showed Hamilton as vulnerable and "soft"; for example, when the letters between him and his son were revealed.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT