RARE DOCUMENT SIGNED BY BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AS PRESIDENT OF PENNSYLVANIA IN 1785
FRANKLIN, Benjamin. Manuscript document signed. Philadelphia: November 23, 1785. Single sheet of vellum, 20 by 11-1/2 inches, manuscript on recto, docketed on verso, with fragile paper seals. $22,500.
Exceptional original manuscript document in a secretarial hand, a deed conveying a "lot of ground in the City of Philadelphia whereon the old Gaol and Workhouse lately stood" to one Martin Baish, "for the price or sum of One Thousand Pounds lawful silver Money of Pennsylvania, he being the best and highest Bidder."
This rare official document, dated November 23, 1785, is boldly signed by Benjamin Franklin as President of Pennsylvania opposite the state's embossed seal. Franklin served as President of Pennsylvania from October 1785 to October 1787. Franklin is the only Founding Father to be signatory to all four key documents in America's founding: the Declaration of Independence, Treaty of Paris, Treaty of Alliance with France and the U.S. Constitution.
The document, entirely in manuscript in a fine and legible secretarial hand, reads, in part: "The Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. To all to whom these Presents shall Come Greeting. Whereas in in pursuance of an Act of General Assembly of the said Commonwealth entitled 'An Act for the immediate Sale of the Lot of Ground in the City of Philadelphia where on the old Goal [sic] and Workhouse lately stood' passed the thirteenth day of September last the Commissioners of the City and County of Philadelphia having first subdivided the said whole lot in nine lots, three on High Street and six on Third Street from Delaware, and given public Notice of the State of the said nine lots in the English and German newspapers at least two weeks before the day of sale did on the twentieth day of October last… and sell at Public Auction unto Martin Baish of the City of Philadelphia Cordwainer for the Price or Sum of One thousand Pounds lawful silver Money of Pennsylvania, he being the best and highest Bidder for the same…" The original fragile, ornate, eight-pointed star paper seal is present, faintly embossed with the seal of Pennsylvania. Attested to by John Armstrong, and co-signed by county commissioners John Brooke, John Baker and George Gray.
Faint fold lines, one unobtrusive half-inch split along fold. Fragile eight-pointed paper seal without two points, but largely intact. Text quite legible, Franklin's signature bold. A lovely, large, and rare signed Franklin document.