About a year ago, Dale Vargason, from Wayland, purchased a cache of documents from the late 18th, early 19th centuries and when he got them home, he found a surprise -- a deed to a piece of property in what is now Ontario County signed by Joseph Ellicott.
Yesterday, he dropped the deed, framed, at Bontrager's Auction on Wortendyke Road, Batavia, where Todd Jantzi said he will present it in a consignment auction featuring antiques and historical documents. A date for the auction has not yet been announced.
"As soon as I saw the Joseph Ellicott I dropped everything else and said, ‘oh, my gosh’ and I started researching it," Vargason said. "I knew who he was but I wanted to figure out how much was this worth but I couldn’t find any comparables so I decided, ‘we’ll see’ and I thought I would hang onto it. When I mentioned it to Todd, his eyes lit up."
Jantzi said it's a fairly rare document and should go for $600 to $800. The deed is from 1813.
Ellicott was an agent for the Holland Land Company from 1800 to 1821. He laid out the first plans for the Village of Batavia and the Village of Buffalo. He signed many land deeds during those years.
Documents of this much historic value don't come into the auction house often, according to Jantzi.
"We might see it maybe once every three to five years," Jantzi said.