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Lot 20135

Image Information

Type Currency
Title Lot 20135
Country United States
Description (Upper Louisiana) - J. H. Hortiz Promissory Note to Rufus Easton for 50 Piasters "in Peltry" St. Louis July 3, 1807. PCGS Very Fine 30 Apparent. The fur trading industry was one of the most important and lucrative businesses in early St. Louis. The Bons and related promissory notes were often payable in beaver pelts or other animal skins. This is another fascinating promissory note, unique and hand-penned, mirroring early frontier finance and St. Louis commerce. The final example of five J. H. Hortiz-accomplished financial instruments in the Newman Collection and, like all of the documents cataloged in these sales, offered at public auction for the first time. These handwritten notes have long been part of the diverse panorama of Missouri currencies and financial documents in the Eric P. Newman Collection. Issuer Joseph Alvarez Hortiz (whose last name is spelled in various ways on the notes and endorsements, here as Horttiz) arrived from Spain in 1753 as a soldier. A well-educated man, he was the secretary for both Governors Trudeau and Delassus. Judge Rufus Easton was appointed the first postmaster of St. Louis in 1805 and as a judge in that same year. "His brother-in-law, Robert Simpson, succeeded him in 1815." Connecticut-born Easton was a Congressional Delegate from the Missouri Territory, and was appointed to the post of attorney general for the state of Missouri in 1821 ( Hortiz issued the note as payment for Judge Easton's "efforts in the proceedings against Mr. Maclalen [McClelland]".The Missouri Supreme Court Historical Database records an 1807 filing of a case in which "John Hortez" (Hortiz) sued "Robert McClelland" on behalf of his son "Francois Hortez." The case summary notes: Damages $12,000; $7,000 in beads, blankets, whiskey, etc." McClelland was a fur trader. This information illuminates a document already rich with the history of early Missouri. Hand accomplished in French. This promissory note is payable to Rufus Easton for 50 Piastres in peltry, set at a rate of 3 livres per piaster. Laid paper, approximately 20.5 cm x 13.3 cm. In a larger sheet size and similar to other Hortiz documents sold in the Newman Part VIII sale. The document is a little brittle along some edges, with some small pieces off the left end and a partially incomplete letter at the upper left. Noted with "Splits, Tears, and Damage; Repairs at Left." Still, this is unique and payable in peltry, which makes it quite fascinating. A one-of-a-kind historical financial instrument from the Newman Collection. French Transcription: je payerez a l'ordere de Mr. Rufus Easton la somme de Cinquante piastres en pelleterie a raison [a] trois livres par piastres pour ses - peines en la procedure contre Mr. Maclalen; apres le gougement - difinitif de la Court Soupreme; St. Louis 3. juillet 1807 jh Hortiz Translation: I will pay to the order of Mr. Rufus Easton the sum of fifty piasters in peltry at a rate of three livres per piaster for his efforts in the proceedings against Mr. Maclalen; after the final judgement of the Supreme Court; St. Louis July 3, 1807 jh Hortiz Docket Back: 129 [?] Hortiz Bonne 50 piastres Peter & Goude [?] ______________ No. __ 6: __ Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. From Newman X (Heritage Auctions, November 2018), lot 20135, realized $4800.

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Image Collection Eric P. Newman Collection, Part X
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