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Goodwill Auction Site Yields Rare George Washington Artifact

Goodwill Auction Site Yields Rare George Washington Artifact
Goodwill Auction Site Yields Rare George Washington Artifact

Richard “Dana” Moore, a collector of historical artifacts, recently acquired a significant piece of American history through an unexpected source: Goodwill’s auction site. The artifact in question is a six-inch-long piece of linen fabric from President George Washington’s dining marquee, originally used during the Revolutionary War.

Moore, whose collection primarily focuses on Civil War artifacts but also includes items from earlier American conflicts, stumbled upon this rare find online and initially doubted its authenticity. However, upon closer inspection, he became convinced of its historical significance, particularly bolstered by a handwritten note accompanying the fabric referencing the Jamestown Exposition of 1907.

The fabric, though aged and darkened over time, bears distinctive features that link it to Washington’s dining marquee, confirmed by museum curator Matthew Skic after detailed examination. It includes a recognizable red wool edging and distinctive weaving patterns consistent with historical records of Washington’s tents.

Goodwill Auction Site Yields Rare George Washington Artifact

Goodwill Auction Site Yields Rare George Washington Artifact

This particular fragment, cut from the scalloped edge of the marquee’s roof, is a rare addition to the small collection of existing tent fragments, most of which are held by museums and institutions.

After purchasing the artifact for $1,300, Moore and his wife, Susan Bowen, eventually decided to reach out to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. The museum, known for its comprehensive collection of Revolutionary War artifacts, was eager to authenticate and display this new addition.

Curator Matthew Skic highlighted the rarity of such discoveries, noting that prior to this find, only nine fragments of Washington’s tents were known to exist.

The significance of this piece extends beyond its historical value; it also represents a personal journey for Moore and Bowen, who initially grappled with doubts about its authenticity before witnessing a presentation by the Museum of the American Revolution that solidified their belief.

Seeing the artifact displayed among other remnants of Washington’s tents was a deeply emotional experience for them, marking a culmination of their efforts to preserve and share this piece of national history.

As historians continue to investigate the artifact and its accompanying note, the Museum of the American Revolution plans to delve deeper into the identity of John Burns, the individual mentioned in the note as having owned the fabric in 1907.

This ongoing research underscores the broader significance of preserving and interpreting historical artifacts, connecting past events with contemporary understanding and appreciation.

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