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Our Country's Founding Fathers Come Together Again, Briefly, in Philadelphia

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's not often that a series of John Hancocks includes John Hancock's, but an oh-so-rare collection of signatures made a brief stop today in Old City Philadelphia.

This collection of signatures of all 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence heads to auction on December 15th.

Bobby Livingston of RR Auctions (center of top photo) estimates that the sale will bring $1 million or more because some of the signatures are rarer than most.

"There's Button Gwynett, and he died in 1777 and left very few personal papers behind, so any signature of his is very rare," Livingston tells KYW Newsradio, making Gwynett sort of the Honus Wagner of Declaration signers.

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(A signature of John Adams, Declaration of Independence signer and second president of the United States.)


The collection was displayed in a building due to be demolished to make way for the Museum of the American Revolution at 3rd and Chestnut Streets (see related story).

"There's something real and immediate about seeing, not just even a signature, but these are all wonderful letters that... most of them date to the wartime period," notes historian Scott Stephenson (at right in top photo).

The museum is scheduled to open in 2016 with completely different artifacts.

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