Daily TWiP ArchivesSomething interesting has happened on (just about) every day of the year, and Daily TWiP provides the proof. An offshoot of my local events column The Week in Preview (affectionately known as TWiP), Daily TWiP was published April 2008-Aug. 2011 and is still giving readers reasons to celebrate.
More in "Daily TWiP"
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 23: National Mole Day
- Daily TWiP - June 18: International Picnic Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30, 1859: The Great Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 1, 1761: Famed wax sculptor Madame Tussaud born
- Daily TWiP - Dec. 4: National Cookie Day
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 8: National Fluffernutter Day
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 7, 1936: "Benjamin," the last thylacine, dies
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 12, 1933: First photograph of the Loch Ness Monster taken
- Daily TWiP - April 1, 1957: The BBC pulls off its infamous spaghetti tree hoax
- Daily TWiP - April 11, 1954: The most boring day of the 20th century
- Daily TWiP - May 3, 1978: The first spam email is sent
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 28, 1939: The non-word “dord” is discovered in Webster’s New International Dictionary
- Daily TWiP - March 3, 1931: "The Star-Spangled Banner," set to the tune of an English drinking song, becomes the U.S. national anthem
- Daily TWiP - May 16, 1777: The American with the most valuable autograph is fatally wounded in a duel
- Daily TWiP - May 25: Towel Day and Geek Pride Day
- Daily TWiP - June 30: National Ice Cream Soda Day
- Daily TWiP - July 22: Spoonerism Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 13: International Left-Handers' Day
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 23, 1784: The short-lived state of Franklin declares its independence from North Carolina
- Daily TWiP - Feb. 5, 1897: The Indiana General Assembly unanimously votes to change the value of pi
- Daily TWiP - March 10: International Day of Awesomeness and Chuck Norris' birthday
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 25: National Irish Coffee Day
- Daily TWiP - Nov. 30, 1954: Ann Hodges becomes the first person hit by a meteorite
- Daily TWiP - Oct. 6, 1582 does not happen in certain countries
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 17, 1859: Joshua A. Norton declares himself Emperor of the United States
- Daily TWiP - Sept. 30, 2004: First images of a live giant squid in its natural habitat are taken
- Daily TWiP - Aug. 27, 1896: The shortest war in recorded history is fought
- Daily TWiP - July 30, 1419: Czechs chuck politicians (literally) during the First Defenestration of Prague
- Daily TWiP - July 21, 356 B.C.: Herostratus destroys one of the Seven Wonders of the World to ensure his own fame
- Daily TWiP - May 14: National Dance Like A Chicken Day
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 26, 2004: Dead whale unexpectedly explodes in Tainan, Taiwan
- Daily TWiP - Jan. 8, 1835: U.S. national debt hits zero for the first and only time
Daily TWiP – May 16, 1777: The American with the most valuable autograph is fatally wounded in a duel
The most valuable American autograph doesn’t belong to a pop star or a sports hero, but to Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s representatives to the Continental Congress and the second signer of the Declaration of Independence. This is due mainly to the rarity of his signature, as Gwinnett had a relatively brief political career prior to signing the Declaration of Independence and died soon after from wounds sustained in a duel fought May 16, 1777.
Gwinnett, who was less than three months into his tenure as Governor of Georgia, had ordered an invasion of British East Florida but found himself unable to lead the invasion due to his gubernatorial responsibilities. Instead, he was forced to rely on Lachlan MacIntosh, a fellow political figure and military leader and Gwinnett’s bitter rival.
The invasion was an utter disaster. MacIntosh publicly blamed Gwinnett in a speech to the Georgia assembly, denouncing him as a “scoundrel and a lying rascal.” The humiliated Gwinnett demanded an apology and, when MacIntosh refused, challenged him to a duel.
MacIntosh accepted the challenge and the men agreed to duel with pistols at 12 paces in a field a few miles east of Savannah. Gwinnett and MacIntosh fired at the same time and each wounded the other, with MacIntosh being shot in the hip and and Gwinnett in the leg.
MacIntosh recovered from his injury, but Gwinnett’s wound quickly developed gangrene. He died three days later on May 19, 1777, less than a year after signing the Declaration of Independence, at the age of 41 or 42.
His relatively short life and even shorter political career has made his signature the most valuable autograph in the United States, especially among historically-inclined collectors looking to own the signatures of all 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.
There are only 51 known examples of Gwinnett’s signature in existence, with an individual signature being sold for as much as $150,000. In comparison, the autograph of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the Moon, only fetches up to $7,500.
– Teresa Santoski
Originally published May 16, 2011.