Barton’s Shafer Art Gallery exhibits collection of historical signatures
January 29, 2013
Story and Photo by Joe Vinduska
It’s not every day that someone can see something first hand that was signed by George Washington, but through the month of February patrons of Barton Community College’s Shafer Art Gallery can see not only Washington’s signature, but those of other famous historical figures such as Martin Van Buren and Zachary Taylor.
The impressive collection of signatures belongs to long-time Great Bend resident Bill Gilmore, who recently relocated to Nebraska.
“I enjoy the fact that I have these items, but it’s not really an emotional attachment that I have to the signatures, it’s that I’m able to have an attachment to something historical,” he said.
Gilmore has been collecting historical “John Hancocks” for the past three years and only purchases his items from highly reputable auction houses that provide documentation proving their authenticity. He cautions others interested in the hobby to be careful when buying and to stay away from auction websites such as ebay.com.
“There are a lot of fakes out there,” he said.
Gilmore said the type of document that is signed greatly affects the value of a historical signature.
“A check from their personal checking account or a land grant is not nearly as valuable as a postmaster appointment or something like that,” he said.