George Washington's famous letter regarding slave selling is up for auction

In 1774, George Washington penned a letter regarding his management of a sale that included 90 slaves owned by a friend.

That document is now up for auction.

Offered by Yonkers-based Cohasco, Inc., the letter had, as of Sunday, already drawn a bid of $45,000, exceeding the $32,000 to $40,000 estimate.

The auction closes on February 22.

Bob Snyder, Cohasco's vice president, said to the Journal News, "What makes the letter historically significant is that Washington started life as a slave owner in his early teens and by about this time he began to realize that he had a conflict, an intellectual conflict. On the one hand he was agitating for American independence and freedom. On the other hand he's surrounded by slaves."

The item description in the catalog notes that Washington's significant shift in outlook largely occurred over the course of the Revolutionary War.

It is noted that after having numerous encounters with free black men, Washington became increasingly aware of the conflicts inherent in seeking liberty while allowing enslavement.

This is only the second time the letter has been available for purchase.