Landmark Books in All Fields
ItemID: #114723
Cost: $3,000.00

Check - Signed

Baron von Steuben


STEUBEN, Baron von. Check signed. New York, July 11, 1791. Partially printed check, measuring 7 by 3-1/4 inches, matted and framed with a portrait, entire piece measures 17 by 10 inches. $3000.

Original partially printed check, dated 1791, for $80 to Toussaint Lopez completed by hand and signed by Revolutionary War icon Baron von Steuben.

The partially printed check, completed in manuscript and signed by von Steuben, reads: "Cashier of the Bank, Pay to [manuscript: "Toussaint Lopez"] or Bearer, [manuscript: "Eighty"] Dollars. New-York, the [manuscript: "11th"] Day of [manuscript: "July"] 17[manuscript: "91. 80D: Steuben"]. Baron von Steuben, who served with distinction in the Prussian army under Frederick the Great, was commended to the American Congress by Benjamin Franklin. Shortly after, Steuben was appointed Inspector General by George Washington, beginning a relationship that would greatly affect both of their careers. In fact, Steuben's arrival at Valley Forge in February of 1778 marked the turning point of the Revolutionary Army's fortunes. "In March, Washington asked Steuben to serve temporarily as inspector general and to begin his duties by instructing the soldiers in the long-neglected subjects of discipline and drill" (ANB). "Since Steuben's English was tentative at best, he relied on French as his lingua franca, bringing him into immediate contact with the bilingual Alexander Hamilton and John Laurens, who acted as interpreters… Soon Steuben was strutting around Valley Forge, teaching amateur troops to march in formation, load muskets, and fix bayonets and sprinkling his orders with colorful goddamns and plentiful polyglot expletives that endeared him to the troops… Steuben overhauled the army's drill manual or 'Blue Book' and created a training guide for company commanders, with Hamilton often recruited as editor and translator" (Chernow, Alexander Hamilton, 109-110). Accompanied by an engraved portrait of Baron von Steuben. This item was mounted and bound into an extra-illustrated copy of the "History of the City of New York" circa 1872, in the possession of Emery E. Childs, and while the book—expanded to 21 volumes—has passed through several hands, this particular item has not been on the market since it was bound in, a happy circumstance that has also maintained this fragile piece in its current condition. Original ink cancellation marks affecting manuscript portions and (legible) signature.

Some staining to letter.. Extremely good condition.

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