DOYLESTOWN, Pa., Feb. 22, 2012--The year of 1776 was a monumental one for both Thomas Lynch, Jr. and the United States of America. It was the birth of a nation and a life changing time for future Declaration signer, Thomas Lynch Jr.
For those who collect autographs of Declaration signers, Thomas Lynch, Jr. is the most difficult to find. In the last century, only three Lynch signed documents have been available.
Thomas Lynch, Jr. was released from the South Carolina militia so that he could replace his ailing father in the Continental Congress. For a short time, the two would become the only father-son to serve in the Continental Congress. Lynch, Sr. would be unable to sign the Declaration of Independence due to illness.
Thomas Lynch, Jr. would become the second-youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence. While Lynch's signature on the Declaration is his most famous, it is even more significant as one of 14 known documents signed by Lynch still in existence today. While most of the Declaration signers were lawyers and clerks, Lynch, a planter by trade, didn't generate much paperwork . Three years later, he and his wife would be lost at sea, thus, not many examples of his signature exist.
This extremely rare letter is the only letter, written and signed by Thomas Lynch, Jr., available to the public. Its significance is even more astounding because it includes the date of 1776 and mentions his father.
Not even Lynch's home state of South Carolina owns a Lynch autograph. The state previously owned two Lynch signatures, both on receipts, which were sold in 1929 to fund South Carolina's archives.
Lynch's autograph is more rare than that of Button Gwinnett. While many consider Gwinnett's signature to be the rarest among the 56 signers, there are, in fact, 47 known examples of Gwinnett signed letters/documents while there are only 14 of Lynch, making Lynch documents much more rare. In 2010, the erroneous belief that Gwinnett's signature is the rarest led to a Gwinnett sale at Sotheby's for $722,500. It is expected that a scarce Lynch signed letter should fetch a much higher price.