1809 James Madison Signed Four-Language Ship’s Paper

Sold For: $1,080

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 2335

Item Year: 1809

Category: Historical/Political

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Official government document, dated June 13, 1809, signed by James Madison, fourth President of the United States. This document, known as “ship's papers,” grants Frederick Slocum of New Bedford, Massachusetts, permission to sail his commercial ship, The Flame of New Bedford, to “London” and serves as official notice of such activity to foreign nations. Because of its international nature, the document is printed in four separate columns, each transcribed in one of four languages: French, Spanish, English, and Dutch. It has been boldly signed in black ink by "James Madison" in black ink (grading "8/9") as President and by "John Shore" as the collector in the port of "Petersburg" (where the ship was currently docked). The faded Presidential seal remains affixed along the left portion of the document, as does the notary's seal along the base. The document, which is both printed and handwritten, makes note that The Flame of New Bedford is laden "Tobacco, Slaves, & Customary Stores." This piece was signed by Madison just three months after his inauguration, on March 4, 1809, making it an extremely early Madison Presidential signature example. The document (20.5 x 16.25 inches) displays a number of horizontal and vertical folds and is otherwise in apparent Excellent to Mint condition. Mounted and framed to total dimensions of 28 x 23.5 inches. Full LOA from PSA/DNA and auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. The substantial size/weight of this item requires that there will be a shipping charge for this lot (which will vary depending upon where it is being shipped). The shipping charge will be billed separately from the auction invoice. Reserve $300. Estimate $500+.


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