The seemingly unrecorded pro-Thomas Jefferson election handbill that sold for $50,000 (£36,765) at Freeman’s.

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Bid to a considerably higher than predicted $160,000 (£117,645) in Philadelphia, the earlier document was an extremely rare, four-page printed statement of the Land Ordinance adopted by the Congress of the Confederation, something which Freeman’s described as one of the more significant pieces of congressional legislation of the time.

It was one that established America’s public land system and the mechanism for surveying and selling land on the Western frontier, and it begins with the statement that “…the territory ceded by the individual states, to the United States, which has been purchased of the Indian inhabitants, shall be disposed of in the following manner…”

Ten questions, ten answers

Sold at $50,000 (£36,765) was a rare and seemingly unrecorded pro-Thomas Jefferson handbill from the time of the 1796 presidential election.

Only the third in the new nation’s history, and the first to be contested by nascent political parties, the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists, the handbill takes the form of a catechism in support of Jefferson, one that poses 10 questions and provides 10 answers.

In the 1790s, said the Freeman’s cataloguer, such a format was often used as a pedagogical tool by those political activists aiming to teach voters to be partisans and party members.