Upstate New York antiques specialist, Mark Lawson of Mark Lawson Antiques Inc. has identified a recently found original publication by American patriot Thomas Paine. The rare bound pamphlet of three essays was rescued from the dumpster by a local family cleaning out their late father’s estate. The bound group of 3 essays titled The American Crisis was published by Thomas Paine on December 19, 1776 in Philadelphia. The first essay, which begins with the words “These are the times that try men’s souls…”, so moved American Revolutionary War general and later American president George Washington that he had it read to the assembled continental army on December 23, 1776. At that time the American Revolution was faltering, suffering repeated defeats by the British Armed Forces. It was also winter and the army was cold and hungry. The service contracts of many of the Revolutionary soldiers were about to expire on December 31 and soldiers were demoralized, many planning on returning home for a long awaited rest. The inspirational reading of these essays to those soldiers on that day in 1776 is acknowledged as the turning point of the American Revolution.
This important original document, of which few other examples are known to have survived, is scheduled for sale at auction in New York in November 2014 with a $120,000-$180,000 estimate. There is expected strong interest from institutions and advanced collectors across the United States.
Mark Lawson Antiques has been the local underwriter for WMHT TV-17 broadcasting Antiques Roadshow since 1997. Mark Lawson specializes in the evaluation and purchase of fine antique decorative objects, estate jewelry, rare coins, currency, and exceptional collectibles. He meets with clients for purchase evaluations by appointment at his two offices in Saratoga Springs and Colonie. 518-587-8787, www.marklawson.com