Postmaster Group & Thomas Jefferson Letter
When I first opened up this Ebenezer Hazard book, I saw there was a sheaf of papers and they were really very special. You said that you're related to Ebenezer Hazard, is that right?
That's correct, yes. He's a great-great- great-grandfather. I'm not sure how many greats.
Well, I don't know if I can fill you in on some family history or not, but Ebenezer Hazard was one of our nation's first postmaster generals. He was born in 1744, died in 1817. He was also a great collector of historical documents, and while he was postmaster general, he petitioned Congress in order to publish these two volumes of historical collections, and this is the title page to volume one. They were done in 1792 and 1794, published by Dobson. Over here, we have the original contract that Hazard signed with Dobson-- a famous Philadelphia publisher-- to get them published. This is an amazing set of books that you have. It only goes up to 1662 because the sales were so low on it that he couldn't raise money for additional volumes. However, there were important people who did subscribe to it. Over here we have Vice President Adams in 1791 putting in his dibs on a copy of it. And also there are other famous people who would contribute things to it. Over here we have a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Ebenezer Hazard, and he's enclosing something that he wants put into a volume of historical collections. And this is an act of Congress... ...from 1783 in which Thomas Jefferson and some of his other colleagues get the land northwest of the Ohio River as well as the Virginia Territory ceded to the United States. So it's an incredibly important fair copy of this document. And this letter says, "Here is a copy "which I've copied out in my own hand "so that it can be included in your volumes of historical collections." Now, this is not the copy that went to Congress or was recorded there, but it is very important because it's in Thomas Jefferson's own hand and it's one of the most important documents that an act of Congress could actually accomplish, which was ceding a whole bunch of territory, including a lot of Ohio, to what was the United States. Usually Jefferson documents do not bring that much money-- $3,000, $5,000. But in this case, this is a great document and it's in superb condition in the original envelope. I would estimate this letter alone, with its attending document inside, to be worth $100,000.
Oh, my God.
Now, the other material is worth a few thousand dollars in itself. Thanks so much for bringing it on the show.
Executive producer Marsha Bemko shares her tips for getting the most out of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW.
Value can change: The value of an item is dependent upon many things, including the condition of the object itself, trends in the market for that kind of object, and the location where the item will be sold. These are just some of the reasons why the answer to the question "What's it worth?" is so often "It depends."
Note the date: Take note of the date the appraisal was recorded. This information appears in the upper left corner of the page, with the label "Appraised On." Values change over time according to market forces, so the current value of the item could be higher, lower, or the same as when our expert first appraised it.
Context is key: Listen carefully. Most of our experts will give appraisal values in context. For example, you'll often hear them say what an item is worth "at auction," or "retail," or "for insurance purposes" (replacement value). Retail prices are different from wholesale prices. Often an auctioneer will talk about what she knows best: the auction market. A shop owner will usually talk about what he knows best: the retail price he'd place on the object in his shop. And though there are no hard and fast rules, an object's auction price can often be half its retail value; yet for other objects, an auction price could be higher than retail. As a rule, however, retail and insurance/replacement values are about the same.
Verbal approximations: The values given by the experts on ANTIQUES ROADSHOW are considered "verbal approximations of value." Technically, an "appraisal" is a legal document, generally for insurance purposes, written by a qualified expert and paid for by the owner of the item. An appraisal usually involves an extensive amount of research to establish authenticity, provenance, composition, method of construction, and other important attributes of a particular object.
Opinion of value: As with all appraisals, the verbal approximations of value given at ROADSHOW events are our experts' opinions formed from their knowledge of antiques and collectibles, market trends, and other factors. Although our valuations are based on research and experience, opinions can, and sometimes do, vary among experts.
Appraiser affiliations: Finally, the affiliation of the appraiser may have changed since the appraisal was recorded. To see current contact information for an appraiser in the ROADSHOW Archive, click on the link below the appraiser's picture. Our Appraiser Index also contains a complete list of active ROADSHOW appraisers and their contact details and biographies.
Last Tango in Halifax
Enjoy the third season of this award-winning series that celebrates life and love