1805 Letter Penned By Thomas Jefferson For Sale, All Yours For $35K

An 1805 letter written by Thomas Jefferson has been put up for sale by the Raab Collection of Philadelphia, according to an AP report. According to the report, the letter has never been available, either to the general public or to academics. The letter is priced at $35,000.

The 1805 Thomas Jefferson letter reportedly was written during his presidency – which spanned the years 1801-1809 – and was addressed to his estate manager, who was also a personal friend. The letter details Jefferson’s desire to have one of his plantations – Poplar Forest in Virginia – appraised for the purpose of dividing the property among his grandchildren.

The letter is a rare glimpse into the personal life of the United States’ first secretary of state, second vice president and third president, according to a report in SF Gate. Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and was a major force in advocating for the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution.

The current owner of the 1805 letter, which is a single page handwritten by Thomas Jefferson, is anonymous. The Raab Collection, which is handling the sale, regularly deals in rare documents.

Thomas Jefferson showed obvious trust in his friend and estate manager’s ability, and seems to have been less concerned about the actual value of the Poplar Forest estate than that the land be doled out fairly among his descendants. Part of the body of the 1805 letter reads:

“I by no means mean to give you the trouble of re-inspecting the lands; you know them so well that your answer given on recollection…will perfectly answer my purpose. It is of no consequence that the valuation of the land be at what they might sell it for at market’ provided all are valued on the same scale, so as to know their comparative worth, it will be sufficient.”

Thomas Jefferson is best known as the primary author of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and as the third U.S. President from 1801-1809. Jefferson also served as the fledgling nation’s minister to France (1785-1789), as the first secretary of state under George Washington (1790-1793) and as the second vice president under John Adams (1797-1801). Prior to the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, the Virginia native served as a delegate to both Continental Congresses and the Congress of the Confederacy (Articles of Confederation era) and as governor of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson wrote the 1805 letter during the beginning of his second term as President of the United States.

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