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Paul Revere family artifacts found in Canton home sold at auction for $20,000

A trade sign that belonged to Paul Revere's son was sold for $20,000 at auction on Saturday.John McInnes Auctioneers

A rare trade sign belonging to Paul Revere’s son, along with a number of other Revere family artifacts, were sold in an auction Saturday for $20,000 after the items were found in a Canton home during a renovation.

The sign, painted black with gold leaf, is emblazoned with Revere’s son’s name, Joseph W. Revere. An unidentified online buyer won the auction after a few minutes of rapid-fire bidding held both in-person and online. Online bidding got underway at Friday at 10 a.m.

The in-person auction, hosted by Amesbury-based John McInnis Auctioneers, took place just after 2 p.m. Saturday, with a starting price set at $2,750, and was live-streamed.


The auction website listed the estimated lot price for the items between $1,000 and $2,000.

The items’ historical connection helped drive up their value, John McInnis said in a phone interview Saturday but he had thought they would not sell for more than $8,000.

“Provenance brought the value up,” he said.

The sign likely would’ve garnered an even higher bid had it belonged to Paul Revere, McInnis said.

McInnis said trade signs usually sell for $500 to $5,000 depending on how “beautiful” they are. But aside from its historical link, the Revere trade sign was “very interesting, very clean,” he said.

A rare painted black and gold leaf trade sign.John McInnes Auctioneers

A number of prominent area collectors were involved in the bidding, McInnis said, but because the buyer who won did so online, the auction house doesn’t know the person’s identity.

The sign was auctioned off in one lot along with other items believed to be owned by the Revere family, including wrought iron calipers, a turned wooden handle, a silk and leather sewing valet, a key, and letters, and an account book belonging to Paul Revere’s grandchildren and daughter-in-law, according to the auction house.

“That’s what really made it is the things it was surrounded by,” McInnis said.


The items were found in the attic wall of a Canton home believed to have been owned by the Revere family.

Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.

Charlie McKenna can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9.