SIGNED BY ABRAHAM LINCOLN: SCARCE ORIGINAL SPRINGFIELD MARINE & FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY CHECK, COMPLETED IN LINCOLN'S HAND AND SIGNED BY HIM, DATED ONLY ONE YEAR BEFORE HIS ELECTION TO THE PRESIDENCY
LINCOLN, Abraham. Check signed. Springfield: Springfield Marine & Fire Insurance Company, January 19, 1859. Original partially printed check (2-1/2 by 7-1/2 inches) accomplished and signed on the recto. Framed with portrait. $20,000.
January 19, 1859 check drawn on Lincoln’s account at the Springfield Marine & Fire Insurance Company, completed in his hand in the amount of $38.35 and signed by him, "A. Lincoln," in payment to J.G. Ives & Co.
Lincoln opened his account at Springfield Marine & Fire Insurance Company on March 1, 1853 and remained a customer until his death. "When coupled with what we know of Lincoln's life, his bank account becomes an important historical document. For the first few years it was meager enough… A transaction or two a year, or at best a half dozen, is all the account shows until 1859 [the year of this check], when it suddenly became active… The bank has since changed hands to its current designation as JP Morgan Chase Bank" (Springfield Historic Destinations Examiner). Lincoln had only recently come to national prominence when he issued this check, having taken part in the famous debates with Stephen A. Douglas between August and October, 1858. Although he lost the election to the Senate, he was now a national figure which made him a viable candidate for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination. The day he wrote this check, Lincoln had appeared in court as counsel for the Illinois Central Railroad. The court continued the cases until the following January, when he argued against Milton Hay, the father of his future secretary, John Hay. The payee, John G. Ives (1818-98), was born in Oneida, NY, and settled in Springfield, IL, in 1839, where he established himself as a silversmith and jeweler. In 1855 he left the trade to establish the Aetna Mill, which he ran for the next decade. From 1866-67 he served as Treasurer of Sangamon County.
Small punch hole in left margin, not affecting any handwriting, very minor toning. A fine and desirable signed Lincoln check.