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Lot # 1519 (of 1866)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1790 Benedict Arnold Signed Document

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,740

Outstanding one-page document, dated February 26, 1790, signed by Benedict Arnold (1741-1801), the American Revolutionary General who later defected to the British Army. In this document, Benedict makes claim for a debt owed to him for goods and services provided. In full: "Benedict Arnold Esqr of the Plaintiff in the above cause maketh oath that Samuel Oakes the Defendant in the above cause is at this time justly and truly indebted unto him this Deponent in the Sum of Eleven Pounds Seventeen Shillings for a quantity of Ship Timber sold and Delivered by him this Deponent to the said Defendant and for Cash paid and advanced for the measuring the Same.” The document is signed "B. Arnold" in black ink. Both the signature and text (not written in Arnold's hand) are boldly scripted and grade "9/10." Arnold is the most famous traitor in U.S. history and today his name is practically synonymous with the term. Arnold was a successful general for the Continental Army who later defected to the British Army in 1780. Arnold had plotted to hand over the fort at West Point to the British in that year but the plot was discovered before the act of treason took place. Arnold escaped capture and served in the British Army through the end of the war. At the time of this document, Arnold was living in Saint John, New Brunswick (Canada), where he was making a living through real-estate investments and a trade company. While there he became embroiled in a long series of petty lawsuits which eventually so enraged the citizens of the town that they burned him in effigy on the steps of his house while his wife and children looked on. Shortly after, in 1791, Arnold and his family moved to London, where he lived until his death in 1801. The document ( 6 x 6 inches) displays a vertical fold line, as well as a few minor edge tears. In Very Good to Excellent condition overall. Mounted and framed together with an engraving of Arnold and George Washington, and a descriptive plaque, to total dimensions of 20 x 35.5 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $3,000+. SOLD FOR $4,740

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