This Benjamin Franklin Letter About the American Revolution Could Be Yours for $120,000

A historical document that proves Benjamin Franklin was a key part of the American Revolution could soon be yours.

The Raab Collection, an international company that buys and sells historical documents, has just listed a letter the Founding Father wrote in 1777. The important piece of correspondence will be displayed for the first time at the firm’s Philadelphia office before it goes up for sale on April 11 with an asking price of $120,000.

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The rather short note pertains to clandestine aid from France to the American cause. Franklin had journeyed to Paris as a diplomat, tasked with getting France to join America’s war for independence as an ally to the States. Emmanuel-Pierre de la Plaigne, meanwhile, was chosen by the Georgia Legislative Council as its formal representative to liaise with France. The letter, dated December 3, 1777, shows Franklin giving de la Plaigne credentials to then negotiate with the French.

“I do hereby certify whom it may concern, that the Papers herewith connected under my Seal, viz. the Extract from the Minutes of the Assembly of Georgia, signed by Henry Cuyler, Clerk; and the Instructions to Capt. De la Plaigne signed by N W. Jones Speaker, are genuine and authentic Papers. B Franklin,” the letter reads.

On the opposite side of the letter is Franklin’s docket, meaning that it was the Founding Father’s own copy and eventually traveled back with him to Philadelphia. Initially bought by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1946, the note was given to a donor in 1972. However, given the relevance of the letter, the society’s minutes show that the gift wasn’t meant to become a regular occurrence and that it was a rather generous acknowledgment of the donor’s assistance.

Franklin’s letter to de la Plaigne eventually helped the latter secure aid from the French a mere week later, as did the news that the Americans had won a battle in Saratoga, which arrived just after Franklin wrote his missive. And two months later, the French officially allied with the Americans in the Revolution, eventually leading to full independence from the British.

This letter is just a small—yet mighty—piece of that history.

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