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1840 Henry Clay Handwritten Letter with Additional Free Frank Signature
Starting Bid - $200, Sold For - $356
One-page handwritten letter, dated May 19, 1840, signed by Henry Clay (1777-1852), the American politician known as "The Great Compromiser." In his letter, which is inscribed on one leaf of a foldover sheet, Clay writes to Michael Sowers regarding Sowers' pension. In full: “Enclosed is a check for $40, being the amount of your pension due from the 3 March to the 3rd Sept 1839. That which has accrued since the 3rd Sept. 1839 it seems must be received in Philada [sic]. It is not convenient for me to attend to the receipt of that. Not being in the habit of receiving any compensation in such care, I charge you nothing. Your Obe Serv, H. Clay." Both the text and signature have been scripted in black ink and grade "9/10." A second Clay signature (black ink; grading "9"), in the form of a free frank, appears on the other leaf (the letter was folded, with the letter also serving as the envelope, sealed with wax). Clay was one of the most prominent American politicians of the nineteenth century, serving in both the House of Representatives and United States Senate during his long tenure. A former Speaker of the House (1811-1820) and Secretary of State (1825-1829; under John Quincy Adams), Clay also ran three unsuccessful campaigns for President. In 1840, the year of this letter, Clay lost the Whig party Presidential nomination to William Henry Harrison. The letter (15.75 x 10 inches; unfolded) displays both horizontal and vertical mailing folds, one of which touches upon the main signature, as well as a number of moderate tears on the leaf opposite the text. Remnants of the original wax seal remain. In Very Good condition overall. Mounted and framed together with an engraving of Clay to total dimensions of 23 x 28.5 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $200. Estimate $400+. SOLD FOR $356
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