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Sale 1237 — American Free Franks and Historical Documents

Sale Date — Tuesday, 22 June, 2021

Category — Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy Adams

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
25
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 25, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsGeorge Washington, George WashingtonGeorge Washington. Free frank "G Washington" as Commanding General of the Continental Army on folded cover addressed in another hand to The Honble. Major Genrl. Ward, or Officer Commanding the Forces of the United States of America in Boston", blue "FREE" handstamp applied in New York, manuscript "On public service", light vertical file folds including one affecting free frank

VERY FINE. A DESIRABLE REVOLUTIONARY WAR PERIOD FREE FRANK OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, TO MAJOR GENERAL ARTEMAS WARD IN BOSTON.

According to Wikipedia, Artemas Ward was one of the four original major generals in the Continental Army. After the British evacuated Boston on March 17, 1776, Washington led the main body of the army to New York, and Ward took command of the Eastern Department until some time in March 1777. This was likely sent during this window.

With 1979 Hamilton certificate

E. 7,500-10,000
21,000
26
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 26, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsGeorge Washington, George WashingtonGeorge Washington. Free frank "G Washington" as Commanding General of the Continental Army to "Maj. Genl. Knox, Commanding at West Point", addressed in Washington's hand, docketed "From his Ex. Genl. Washington 15 Jany. 1783", silked along split at center affecting free frank, additional silking along split on flap

FINE APPEARING EXAMPLE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON'S FREE FRANK AS COMMANDING GENERAL OF THE CONTINENTAL ARMY TO HENRY KNOX AT WEST POINT.

Knox was a close confidant of Washington, and became senior officer of the army after Washington resigned his commission on December 23, 1783.

E. 4,000-5,000
6,250
Back to Top
27
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 27, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsGeorge Washington, George WashingtonGeorge Washington. Free frank "President U.S." as President on folded cover addressed in his hand to "The Honble James McHenry, Baltimore" with instructions "Care of the Postmaster there", light strike of red "FREE" handstamp and "IA/29" Franklin mark, docketed "Washington 28th Jany. 1796", few tears at top, attached to card likely as a preventative measure

VERY FINE AND DESIRABLE EXAMPLE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON'S "PRESIDENT U.S." FREE FRANK.

James McHenry was a signer of the U.S. Constitution, surgeon and Secretary of War from 1796-1800. Fort McHenry is named after him.

E. 5,000-7,500
9,000
Back to Top
28
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 28, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsGeorge Washington, George WashingtonGeorge Washington. Free frank "President U.S." as President on folded cover addressed in his hand to "Col. George Gilpin, Alexandria, Virginia", light strikes of "N-York Sep. 28" and "FREE" handstamps, docketed "a letter from the President of the United States Novemb. 15th 1789", expertly silked and gently cleaned

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A SCARCE AND ATTRACTIVE EXAMPLE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON'S "PRESIDENT U.S." FREE FRANK.

Colonel Gilpin served as an aide to Washington during the Revolutionary War and was a prominent citizen in Alexandria. He served as a pall bearer at Washington's funeral.

E. 5,000-7,500
4,500
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29
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 29, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsGeorge Washington, George WashingtonGeorge Washington. Free frank "G Washington" as ex-President on folded cover addressed in his hand to "Charles Carter Esq., Shirley-on James River", neat "Alex 12 Decr" manuscript postmark with matching "Free", well-struck "RICHMOND, Dec. 17, 1797" straightline datestamp, expertly restored along vertical file fold, minor splitting along folds

FINE APPEARANCE. A DESIRABLE EXAMPLE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON'S FREE FRANK, SENT NINE MONTHS AFTER SERVING AS PRESIDENT.

Charles Carter was one of the wealthiest men in Virginia, owning over 13,000 acres when he died in 1806. He was involved in politics, taking part in the revolutionary conventions in 1774 and 1775.

E. 5,000-7,500
9,000
Back to Top
30
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 30, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Adams, John AdamsJohn Adams. Free frank "Free John Adams" as Vice President on one-page autograph letter initialed "J.A.", datelined "New York July 15, 1789" to Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia, partial strike of "N. York July 15" straightline and matching "Free" handstamp, letter reads (in part): "I have read Dr. Rush's DeMoribus Germanorum with pleasure. As I am a great lover of paradoxes, when defended with ingenuity, I have read also the Phillippie against Latin and Greek with some amusement...What an ingrate was he to employ Art and Science to abuse them. And are you much better, to use the knowledge and skill you derived from Latin and Greek to slander those divine languages? Yours ut Supra, J.A.", faint age toning, light file folds do not affect free frank

VERY FINE. A RARE JOHN ADAMS FREE FRANK AND AUTOGRAPH LETTER WITH INTERESTING COMMENTS CONCERNING SOME OF HIS VIEWS ON THE HUMANITIES.

Due to a quirk of the Acts regarding franking privileges, John Adams enjoyed free-franking privileges during this time period due to his dual position as presiding officer of the U.S. Senate. Officially, the U.S. Post Office did not authorize free-franking privileges to either the President or Vice President until June 1, 1792.

Ex Dr. Robertson

Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 30, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Adams, John Adams
Image 2
E. 7,500-10,000
14,500
Back to Top
31
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 31, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Adams, John AdamsJohn Adams. Free frank "J. Adams" as ex-President on folded cover addressed in his hand to Robert Fulton in New York, neat "Quincy Ms. June 23" manuscript postmark, "Free" apparently written by Adams in his unsteady hand, pencil notation on back indicates 1813 use

FRESH AND VERY FINE JOHN ADAMS FREE FRANK, MAILED TWELVE YEARS AFTER THE END OF HIS PRESIDENCY.

The Act of March 2, 1799, granted ex-Presidents free franking privileges. President Washington used this privilege for only a little more than nine months, until his death on December 14, 1799. At the time this was sent the only living ex presidents were Adams and Jefferson.

E. 4,000-5,000
6,500
Back to Top
32
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 32, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Adams, John AdamsJohn Adams. Free frank "J. Adams" as ex-President on folded cover addressed in his hand to "Honble. Richard Rush Esq., Attorney General of the U.S., City of Washington", bold "Quincy Ms. August 30th" manuscript postmark, "Free" written in the hand of Adams

VERY FINE. A DESIRABLE FREE FRANK OF JOHN ADAMS AS EX-PRESIDENT.

Richard Rush, son of Benjamin Rush, served as Attorney General from 1814-1817.

E. 3,000-4,000
5,750
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33
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 33, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Adams, John AdamsJohn Adams. Free frank "J. Adams" as ex-President on folded cover addressed in his hand to "The Honourable William Cranch, Chief Justice of The District of Columbia, Washington", neat "Quincy Ms. Decr. 20th" manuscript postmark, "Free" written in the hand of Adams, 1811 docketing, light file folds and slight edgewear

VERY FINE AND DESIRABLE JOHN ADAMS FREE FRANK, MAILED TEN YEARS AFTER HIS PRESIDENCY.

The Act of March 2, 1799, granted ex-Presidents free franking privileges. President Washington used this privilege for only a little more than nine months, until his death on December 14, 1799. When John Adams sent this letter, only he and Jefferson enjoyed this privilege.

E. 4,000-5,000
5,250
Back to Top
34
 
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 34, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Adams, John AdamsJohn Adams. Free frank "J Adams" as ex-President in an infirm hand on cover front only to "Alexander B. Johnson Esquire, Utica, Oneida County, New York", red "Quincy Ms. Decr. 27th" manuscript postmark and matching "free"

VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE JOHN ADAMS FREE FRANK AS EX-PRESIDENT.

The recipient was married to his granddaughter, Abigail Louisa Smith Adams.

E. 3,000-4,000
3,250
Back to Top
35
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 35, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsThomas Jefferson, Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson. Free frank "free Th. Jefferson" on folded cover addressed in his hand to Mr. John Laval in Philadelphia, docketed Jan. 28, 1822, red "Charlotte Jan. 29" circular datestamp, manuscript "Free" at top right is faded, cover cleaned, restored and expertly silked

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN ATTRACTIVE AND BOLD THOMAS JEFFERSON FREE FRANK.

The recipient was a prominent merchant and bookseller, having emigrated from France ca. 1793. He was first president of the French Benevolent Society of Philadelphia. According to the National Archives, Jefferson ordered books from Laval as late as 1824 (two years before his death).

E. 3,000-4,000
3,750
Back to Top
36
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 36, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsThomas Jefferson, Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson. Free frank "Free Th, Jefferson" on folded cover addressed in his hand to "Major Adlum, near Havre de grace, Maryland", ornate manuscript "Free" at upper right, few tears restored with hinges, gently cleaned

FINE APPEARANCE. AN ATTRACTIVE EXAMPLE OF THOMAS JEFFERSON'S FREE FRANK.

The recipient was an early vintner, who started growing grapes for a winery in 1797. Wilton Farm used "Fox grapes", a native American variety. Jefferson, with his longstanding interest in wine, was in regular communication with Adlum. Havre de Grace was burned and plundered by the British in the War of 1812, prompting his move to 200 acres in the Rock Creek area of the Capitol where he continued to produce wines.

E. 2,000-3,000
2,200
Back to Top
37
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 37, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Free frank "Dep- State James Madison" as Secretary of State on folded cover addressed in his hand to Charles Simms at Alexandria, red "Washy. City Jul. 10" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, missing bottom flap where barely reduced, slight soiling along vertical file folds, still Very Fine

E. 500-750
800
Back to Top
38
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 38, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Free frank "Department of State James Madison" as Secretary of State on folded cover addressed in his hand to James Bayard in Princeton N.J., red "Washington City Oct. 31" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, 1807 docketing, vertical file folds, Very Fine, Madison served as Secretary of State from May 2, 1801 thru March 3, 1809 when he took the office of the President

E. 500-750
750
Back to Top
39
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 39, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Free frank "Dept. of State, James Madison" on folded cover addressed in his hand to Capt. William Jones in Philadelphia, red "Wash. City Jul. 15" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, 1801 docketing on back, minor edgewear, Very Fine use as Secretary of State under Jefferson

E. 500-750
800
Back to Top
40
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 40, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Free frank "Department of State James Madison" as Secretary of State on folded cover addressed in his hand to "Israel Whelen Esq., Purveyor of the U. States, Philadelphia", red "Wash. City Jul. 24" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, 1801 docketing, small tears at top, slight soiling along folds, still Very Fine use sent shortly after Madison assumed the office of Secretary of State on May 2, 1801

E. 500-750
750
Back to Top
41
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 41, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Free frank "Free James Madison" on folded cover to Washington D.C., red "Orange C.H. Sep. 4" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, fresh and Very Fine

E. 500-750
750
Back to Top
42
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 42, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Free frank "Free James Madison" as ex-President on folded cover to Georgetown and forwarded to Lexington Va., red "Orange C.H. Va. Apr. 27" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, "Georgetown D.C. May 4" circular datestamp, last marking is "Orange C.H. Va. Aug. 26" circular datestamp, part of addressee crossed out probably during the course of forwarding, few small edge tears, Fine, unusual use, based on dates apparently used twice and forwarded the first time

E. 750-1,000
750
Back to Top
43
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 43, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Free frank "Free James Madison" as ex-President on folded cover to Mrs. Louisa M. Patton in New Orleans La., well-struck "Orange C.H. Va. Oct. 9" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, pencil "1833" yeardate may have been written when separated from its contents (he died in 1836 at the age of 85), missing left flap, few small age spots, Very Fine and attractive

E. 500-750
850
Back to Top
44
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 44, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Free frank "Free James Madison" as ex-President on folded cover addressed in his hand to Tench Coxe in Philadelphia, neat "Orange CH Nov. 18th" manuscript postmark, 1817 docketing, vertical file fold, Very Fine use sent eight months after leaving the office of President

E. 500-750
650
Back to Top
45
 
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 45, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Free frank "Free James Madison" on cover front only to General Dearborn in Boston, red "Rich. Va. Jan. 12" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, some docketing at top, light vertical file fold affects frank, still Very Fine

E. 300-400
600
Back to Top
46
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 46, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Madison, James MadisonJames Madison. Folded letter addressed to "The Honble. James Madison, Montpelier (Orange County)", neat "University of Virga. Sep. 21" oval datestamp with date in manuscript, "Free" at upper right, docketing in Madison's hand "? Willis Sept. 21, 1829", Very Fine use sent to Madison as rector of the University of Virginia, years earlier he had helped Jefferson found the university and became its second rector after Jefferson passed away

E. 400-500
400
Back to Top
47
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 47, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Monroe, James MonroeJames Monroe. Two items, first is free frank "Dept. of State, Jas. Monroe" on folded cover to Benjamin Waller in Williamsburg Va., red "Wash. City Jan. 8" circular datestamp with two strikes of matching "FREE" handstamp, some slight soiling, Very Fine, second is folded cover addressed "James Monroe, president of the United States, City of Washington" with "Nash T. Jul. 14" circular datestamp and matching "FREE" handstamp, July 12, 1824 docketing at right in Monroe's hand, slight soiling, Very Fine

Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 47, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Monroe, James Monroe
Image 2
E. 400-500
600
Back to Top
48
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 48, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJames Monroe, James MonroeJames Monroe. Free frank "Dept. of State Jas. Monroe" on folded cover to Lexington Va., red "Washn. City Aug. 5" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, toned (something must have lain on top of this for many years), otherwise Very Fine

E. 500-750
600
Back to Top
49
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 49, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams, John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams. Free frank "J. Q. Adams" on folded letter to Wooster O., manuscript "Dept. of State" in another hand, Dec. 1821 date, light strike of red "Washington Dec. ?" circular datestamp, some splitting along folds, otherwise Very Fine

E. 400-500
325
Back to Top
50
 
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 50, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams, John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams. Free frank "J. Q. Adams" on cover front only to Lexington Ky., manuscript "Dept. of State" in another hand, light strike of red "Washn. City Jul. 4" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, Very Fine

E. 200-300
225
Back to Top
51
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 51, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams, John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams. Free frank "J. Q. Adams" on folded cover to Mrs. Susan Treadway in Richmond Va., blue "Washington City D.C. Mar. 28" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, virtually intact red wax seal on back, Very Fine

E. 400-500
550
Back to Top
52
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 52, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams, John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams. Free frank "J. Q. Adams" in an infirm hand on cover to Brantz Mayer in Baltimore, red "Boston Ms. Oct. ?" circular datestamp, manuscript "f" marking, fresh and Very Fine

E. 400-500
325
Back to Top
53
 
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 53, Presidential Free Franks: George Washington thru John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams, John Quincy AdamsJohn Quincy Adams. Free frank "J. Q. Adams" on cover front only addressed in his hand to Charles J. Adams in Boston, red "New-York Oct. 21" circular datestamp, manuscript rating crossed out, small hole to right of address, Very Fine use from John Quincy Adams to his son

E. 200-300
250
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