Colonial letter makes its way back to Schenectady County

November 9, 2013 by  

More than 300 years after it was first written, a rare letter from the Colonial era is heading back to Schenectady County.

The letter, which doubled its reserve price in the mid-fall auction, will be available for educational and research use. It will also go on public display, and is likely to be the subject of much banner printing when the exhibition starts.

The letter was written in 1690, after settlers in Stockade came under attack by Indians.

Exclaiming how glad she is that the important part of American history was coming home, the archivist and librarian for the Schenectady County Historical Society (SCHS), Melissa Tacke, said:

“It will be preserved and made available for use by scholars, educators and the general public for generations to come. A piece of the community’s history would have been lost for those uses if it had stayed in private hands.”

In the auction, which took place at New York City’s Swann Galleries, a number of buyers showed interested in the lot. Originally estimated to go for in the region of $1,500 – $2,500, it eventually reached $4,400.

With the auction house costs added and the buyer’s premium applied, the historical body eventually had to pay $5,500.

The cost of the letter was met largely through private donations to the SCHS. Following an article appearing in the Times Union in September, over 10 people made a donation. These ranged from $100 to over $1,000.

Tacke said that, without the donations, the acquisition of the letter would not have been possible, going on to thank everyone who came forward to help.