“Every institution has a lot of property that they have no reason to have,” says auctioneer Leslie Hindman. “Good institutions are constantly culling their collections and saying, ‘This is an object that doesn’t mean anything to our collecting mission.'” That’s what happened at the Illinois Institute of Technology recently, where a search of the archives several years ago turned up a telescope that once belonged to George Washington. The telescope descended through the Washington family before reaching William Lanier Washington, who sold it in 1920 to a New York book dealer. Then it disappeared from the historical record. “IIT does not really know exactly where it came from,” Hindman explains. “That happens very often with institutions, where they have things that were given to them in the thirties or forties and they didn’t think it was a big deal at the time.” IIT chose to sell it through Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the largest auction house in the Midwest, where Hindman expects it to sell for at least $10,000—”a very conservative estimate.” The telescope goes up for bidding during the Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts auction October 5-6.