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Lot # 1721 (1721 of 1911)   « Previous Lot | Next Lot »

Circa 1778 George Washington Franked Envelope

Starting Bid - $2,000, Sold For - $7,800

Envelope (undated) bearing a free-frank signature of George Washington (1732-1799), first President of the United States. Washington's black-ink signature, scripted "G. Washington," is affected by a small tear that affects the "sh" in "Washington"; otherwise it grades "6/7." This particular envelope once contained a letter from Washington to James Cole Mountflorence, as noted by the address (not n Washington's hand) next to his signature: "Mons. Ja. Cole Mountflorence at Newborn No. Carolina." The envelope also still contains remnants of Washington's personal wax seal on the front.

Although undated, this letter was most likely written around 1778. Mountflorence was a native of France who traveled to the American Colonies in 1778 to join the American Revolution as part of a French regiment of volunteers . He took ill upon his arrival and during his first year lived in Newborn, North Carolina, where he was employed as a tutor for students. In 1780 he became a brigade major in the North Carolina militia. He later returned to France as an agent for an American mercantile firm and was involved, as an intermediary, in the XYZ Affair of 1897/1898. Washington was Commander-in-Chief of the Armies of the United States at the time this envelope was signed. While we have no knowledge of the correspondence, it was most likely related to the Franco-American alliance and the provision of supplies, as Mountflorence served both as assistant commissary general and assistant quartermaster general during his military tenure.

The envelope (6 x 6 inches) displays a horizontal fold, toning, foxing, and a number of small edge tears. In Good condition overall. Together with small booklet (paper covers) titled An Oration, Delivered at Wethersfield, February 22, 1800; on the Death of General George Washington by Ebenezer Grant Marsh (Hudson and Goodwin, Hartford, 1800). Fair condition, with staining, toning, and tears along the edges of the covers and pages. Both the envelope and booklet have been beautifully mounted together in a framed display that includes a color portrait illustration of Washington. Total dimensions: 33.5 x 19.5 inches. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,000. Estimate $5,000+. SOLD FOR $7,800

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