Button Gwinn-Who?

Button Gwinnett people, Button Gwinnett.

Who is Button Gwinnett? Well...he's one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. One of the original 56. Button was a representative from Georgia in the Continental Congress and the second signer of the Declaration.



Now, as far as collectors go I think some of the ultimate in nerdy are the few people that collect original autographs from the signers of important historical documents. **Cough The Deceleration of Independence Cough** 

These collectors work for years to assemble all of the individual autographs from the original 56 and honestly very few people are able to pull it off. Well, actually, only eleven are able to pull it off.


You see, Button Gwinnett died quickly after signing the Declaration. Gwinnett signed the Declaration in 1776, and died in a dramatic dual with his political rival in May 1777. Both Gwinnett and his rival, Lachlan McIntosh, were wounded. Gwinnett is the only one that died as a result of his injuries.

According to a census of known examples of Gwinnett's autographs, there are only 51 in existence. Of those 51, 11 are in private hands. The other 40 are held in institutional collections.



Why are there so few documents signed by Button Gwinnett if he didn't die until his early forties? There is one simple answer to that question: Savannah, GA. Savannah was destroyed first during the Revolutionary War and again during the Civil war. These two complete decimations of the city contributed greatly to their scarcity.

All of the members of Gwinnett's family were dead by 1800, and the idea of collecting authentic signatures didn't become popular until the 1850's.

Now, people are going to want to know hoe much his signature is worth... well, a bunch.

In December 2012 an entire collection of signers of the Declaration of Independence went up for auction. It included all 56 original signees. The collection was assembled by a New Hampshire man named Robert Newell. The collection was expected to sell for about 1.2 million. The Gwinnett signature alone was worth more than half of the expected price. Just a mere $700,000 - $800,000.

Happy Monday everyone! I'll see you back here the week after next for another Art & History Blog, until then stay exceptionally chic & exquisitely geek!

Exquisitely Geek

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