Wed, 16th Oct 2019 10:00

Autographs & Memorabilia

  Lot 247

Astor (John Jacob) A collection of rare letters signed ('John Jacob Astor') by the prominent American businessman and multi-millionaire providing an insight into his involvement in the financial crisis of the 1818-1819 and into his commercial activity as well. Highlights include: an autograph letter signed to William Jones, President of the Second Bank of the United States, reading “The great anxiety which exists in the mind of the Commercial Community of this city as well as the interest of the banks and the public at large relative to the system to be pursued by the banks and particularly that of the Bank of the United States, has as you will naturally suppose caused some reflection on the subject and I have no doubt but yours is fully matured on that point; nevertheless I thought it not improper to request of Mr Catlin to commit to paper the result of various conversations which I had with him together with his own ideas as to the mode by which the resumption  of Specie Payments of the State Bank can with advantage of the Bank of the United States and public good be most easily put in execution, and I take the liberty to enclose the same to you for your consideration; it appears to me (but you will judge best) that the mode proposed is practicable and, if adopted, will prove beneficial to all. All we will have to do will be to see that we are safe in taking the paper of the State Banks and that being within our own discretion there cannot be much risk; the mode proposed will be liberal on the part of the bank of the United States and I trust will meet the approbation of the State Banks, indeed I see no just cause why they should not accede; if they refuse, the consequence must be at their charge and I trust the nation will justify the Bank of the United States as to any measure which it  may hereafter adopt in defense of its own interest”, 27 January 1817; another letter to Jones saying "Banks are in considerable demand and I will not be surprised if at any moment in the day the whole was drawn from us. You must endeavour to send us without a moment’s delay from 50 to 100 million $ in gold…as without such aid we risk a disgrace, the state Banks here seem to assume a more unfriendly disposition towards us”, 18 September 1817; secretarial duplicates of letters to Peter R. Poland & Son in London related to the fur trade, all signed by Astor, one reporting the beginning of their business partnership "Although we have our correspondents in your city, I am desiderous to be in connection with your respectable House, believing that in the line of buying Furs you can serve me better than any other, and perhaps in the selling the same, and tho’ your commission of 2%  if higher than I pay, as I generally purchase for cash only, I think the difference will be made up to me by your superior knowledge of the article and that I will not be charged any Brokerage",16 May 1827; another reading "I see with regret that you had not sold any of the raccoon skins, nor sent us the hare Fur which was ordered to come from their proceeds. I observe you wish us to ship to you some fine dark mink-marten (fine) -silver and other fox skins. These I am sorry to say we cannot obtain for you, the country producing them, does not belong to us and we are obliged to take what we can get; if however, by chance, we get some very fine furs, we will certainly send them to you…this last , or rather present year, our collection of furs and skins generally has been very small, and we had but few, which are now shipped for your port”, 15 November 1827; a later one saying "I regret to see the bad prospect for the sale of American Furs at Leipzig. I note that the Hudson Bay Company’s collection of muskrats is much larger I had contemplated and therefore do not suppose that you will have bought them for us. In my last you will have seen that I did not wish you to purchase unless in terms more favourable and of the best lots only", 30 November 1827;  with a letter to B.F. Butler, Attorney General, Albany, reading “During the present month I shall not have any money to loan. Whether I shall have any next month I cannot say. If I have, it will give me pleasure to loan to you”, 20 pages, mostly with integral address leaf, some splitting along main folds, age-relating toning, one letter with tears across the page, a few looses to paper, remnants of wax seals, 4to,  New York, 9 January 1812- 4 September 1837, all framed and glazed (16)

Sold for £20,000

Includes Buyer's Premium


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