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The Rarest Presidential Signature Might Surprise You

Tom Bartsch pinch-hits one more time for editor T.S. O'connell.

Since there is such crossover in Americana items and sports memorabilia auctions, I thought I'd cover some Americana today.

I spoke with Larry Rosenbaum at EAC Gallery about presidential
collectibles and other historic and political items that have been
popping up with more frequency in sports auctions. And I'm not talking
about the 1-of-1 cut sig presidential cards or the other inserts found
in packs today.

I'm talking about real documents with the
presidents' signatures. Can you guess who the top three are in the
category. Good ahead and think about it.

Got it?

It's Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson.

OK, now how about the rarest signatures as president? Think it's the top three mentioned above? Nope.

The
two rarest signatures as president are William Harrison and James
Garfield. Why you ask? Well, Harrison caught pneumonia at his
inauguration (hey, someone get him a coat!) and he died 30 days later.
That doesn't leave a lot of time to have documents signed by Harrison
as president, much less have enough available today in decent condition.

Garfield
was assassinated while in office, not long after he took the oath, so
the same scenario exists for him as to the rarity of documents with his
signature as president.

I had never thought of it in this
fashion. I just assumed that the holy trinity of presidents were the
most coveted and that was that. If you take a step back and realize the
facts behind the history, it makes sense.

Rosenbaum said a Garfield
signature as president can run into $15,000. That's quite the jump from
a Garfield signature while he was in the Army that brings $500-$600.

As you can see, signatures of pesidents are actually affordable in the larger view - something else a novice collector might not realize.

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