Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Genealogue Exclusive: National Archives to Hold Yard Sale

A Genealogue Exclusive [What's That?]
In an effort to close a projected $331 billion dollar gap in the federal budget, the National Archives will hold a yard sale Saturday on the Mall in Washington, D. C.

"This is a day we hoped would never arrive," says Archives spokesman Jeff Huffle. "But when the call came, we agreed to do our part."

Workers will be busy this week placing yellow price tags on thousands of historic documents. But not all of the nation's treasures will be available at the sale.

"You won't see the Bill of Rights lying out on a picnic table," Huffle says. "We sold that last week to the Sultan of Brunei."

Genealogists will be eager to paw through the stacks of census records, passenger manifests, and pension applications. Those looking for a more personalized purchase can buy their own FBI file for $5. File folders of unindexed records from the Carter administration will be offered as "grab bags" for the kids.

The Archives has put in place a few rules for the sale: Cash and carry, no returns or refunds. Merchandise is offered "as is"—including any documents scorched when Washington was burned in the War of 1812. Papers with presidential signatures are subject to a ten-percent surcharge—waived if the president in question was unpopular or served less than six months.

And no early birds.

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