NEW YORK: Just in time for Thanksgiving, Seth Kaller, one of the world’s leading dealers in rare historic documents, will exhibit and offer for sale George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in conjunction with Leigh Keno, President of Keno Auctions, through November 26. The Thanksgiving Proclamation is priced at $8.4 million, and is the only example in private hands. The only other Washington-signed copy was acquired by the Library of Congress in 1921. The document was offered at Christie’s on November 14, 2013, where it was expected to sell for upwards of $12,000,000. Kaller represents the document’s owner, who has decided to offer the manuscript through exhibition and private sale. Says Seth Kaller: “It is a great pleasure to offer this extraordinary document establishing a uniquely American celebration.”
Leigh Keno says: “I’m excited to be working with Seth again. His expertise was invaluable earlier this year when Keno Auctions sold a historical draft of “The Twelve Colonies by their Delegates in Congress to the Inhabitants of Great Britain” for $912,500-a record price for an American Revolutionary War Manuscript at auction.”
In the Proclamation, issued on October 3, 1789, our first president designates “Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being . . . That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks-for . . . the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness… for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge.”
Washington issued another Thanksgiving Proclamation six years later and Presidents Adams and Madison proclaimed their own as well. The next President to do so was Abraham Lincoln, who issued several during the Civil War. On October 3, 1863-exactly 74 years after George Washington’s Proclamation-Lincoln established the fourth Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving, setting the precedent that remains to this day.