A bill of exchange made payable to Benjamin Franklin and endorsed
with his signature sold for the equivalent of $16,741 at auction by Spink at its June
7 Bonds and Shares Certificates of the World sale in Switzerland.
The bill was graded by the auction firm as Extremely Fine.
The bill of exchange for £150 was issued to purchase supplies for
the North-American Expedition and dated Feb. 1, 1756.
The bill was drawn by John Hunter on Thomlinson & Hanbury,
London merchants. The back of the bill is endorsed by Franklin’s
signature and that of John Nelson.
Beginning in 1745, Thomlinson & Hanbury had “held considerable
British government contracts” to supply British troops in North
America, according to the catalog.
Col. John Hunter, merchant and colonel of the Elizabeth City County
militia and John Nelson, a Philadelphia merchant, were both money
agents for the British forces in western Pennsylvania for Thomlinson
& Hanbury, according to the catalog description.
The bill itself dates back to the French and Indian War of 1754 to
1763 when Franklin was actively involved in the defense of Pennsylvania.
“It [bill] represents the financial support of the militia by the
British government” when Franklin “marched with his troops toward
Gnadenhutten, Ohio, a settlement that had been overrun by the French
together with Shawnee and Delaware Indians.”
For more information about this item or other lots in the auction,
visit the Spink website.