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

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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.

21 PHOTOS
The top 20 presidents in US history, according to historians
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The top 20 presidents in US history, according to historians

20. George H. W. Bush

Best leadership quality and rank: International relations (No. 8)

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19. John Adams 

Best leadership quality and rank: Moral authority (No. 11)

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18. Andrew Jackson

Best leadership quality and rank: Public persuasion (No. 7)

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17. James Madison

Best leadership quality and rank: Moral authority (No. 9)

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16. William McKinley Jr.

Best leadership quality and rank: Relations with congress (No. 10)

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15. Bill Clinton 

Best leadership quality and rank: Economic management (No. 3)

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14. James K. Polk

Best leadership quality and rank: Crisis leadership (No. 9), Administrative skills (No. 9)

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13. James Monroe 

Best leadership quality and rank: International relations (No. 7)

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12. Barack Obama

Best leadership quality and rank: Pursued equal justice for all (No. 3)

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11. Woodrow Wilson

Best leadership quality and rank: Vision (No. 7)

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10. Lyndon Baines Johnson

Best leadership quality and rank: Relations with congress (No. 1)

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9. Ronald Reagan

Best leadership quality and rank: Public persuasion (No. 5)

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8. John F. Kennedy

Best leadership quality and rank: Public persuasion (No. 6)

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7. Thomas Jefferson

Best leadership quality and rank: Relations with congress (No. 5), Vision (No. 5)

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6. Harry S. Truman

Best leadership quality and rank: Crisis leadership (No. 4), Pursued equal justice for all (No. 4)

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5. Dwight D. Eisenhower 

Best leadership quality and rank: Moral authority (No.4)

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4. Theodore Roosevelt 

Best leadership quality and rank: Public persuasion (No. 2)

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3. Franklin D. Roosevelt
 
Best leadership quality and rank: Public persuasion (No. 1), International relations (No. 1)

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2. George Washington 

Best leadership quality and rank: Economic management (No. 1), moral authority (No. 1), Performance within the context of his times (No. 1)

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1. Abraham Lincoln 

Best leadership quality and rank: Crisis leadership (No. 1), administrative skills (No. 1), Vision (No. 1), Pursued equal justice for all (No. 1)

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