Where most see some words on a page, Peter Becker sees a business opportunity. "It's unbelievable to hold these things in your hand," he said.
It's a collection of documents he's selling at his company, Global Garage Sale. The Winooski business acts as a third-party to auction off people's stuff on Ebay. "I think a lot of them were collected in the 50s and 60s," Becker said.
The wife of a stamp collector who recently passed away brought them in. "This woman had no idea what her husband had in his collection," Becker said.
His family doesn't know how he came upon them, and wants to remain anonymous. The same can't be said for the people in the collection itself. Signatures by everyone from Mark Twain to Ty Cobb and Henry Longfellow to Thomas Edison -- ingenious even in his autograph. "He made his Ts come up like a phonograph speaker," Becker said.
Once Facebook helped them figure out Queen Victoria's signature, it sold for a $120 dollars.
"Susan B. Anthony may actually be the rarest one that we have," Becker said. And she may sell for even more. "That one could go upwards of a $1,000."
The Green Mountains play a staring role in the papers too. "His collection of the governors documents is really -- it's something special," Becker said. Items from 14 Vermont Governors are being sold as a group. "They basically date from the late 1700s up to the 1940s -- George Aiken."
Tracing the state's history from Isaac Tichenor. "He was the third and fifth Governor of Vermont," Becker said. To one of Vermont's first third party leaders. "This is William Palmer, who was actually elected on the Anti-Masonic ticket."
Names you've never heard of, and some that echo into the ages. The Starting price for the bidding on the Governors collection is $500. "I think it's just the fascination with those are sort of our heroes -- the entertainment heroes, the political heroes -- and just to hold something that they held, they touched," Becker said.
Using that fascination to turn John Hancocks into Ben Franklins.
As far as authenticity goes, Global Garage Sale's Peter Becker says they mainly just compare the signatures they have to ones found online, but they say they are offering 30 days for a buyer to independently verify it after the auction.