A historic document related to the building of the Portland Head Light will be auctioned Thursday.

The letter dates to 1790 and was signed by Thomas Jefferson when he was secretary of state. Jefferson was writing to authorize the final $1,500 needed to complete the lighthouse, now Maine’s oldest. It was finished in 1791 and still stands at Fort Williams.

The document is estimated to be worth $10,000 to $15,000.

Swann Auction Galleries in New York City is selling the document as part of a collection of William Wheeler III, who had an interest in American presidential and revolutionary history. There are 229 lots in the collection, and the Portland Head Light letter is among the most valuable. Jefferson was the country’s first secretary of state and later became president.

“This collection offers glimpses of American history both manuscript and printed, with a wide breadth of presidential and revolutionary Americana, including letters signed by George Washington and Thomas Paine; and documents signed by Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere,” Swann Auction Galleries wrote on its website.

The collection will be previewed Saturday through Thursday.


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