A Thomas Jefferson Signed Book Sells for $66,435 at NateDSanders.com
Thomas Jefferson signed book
In addition to being the United States’ 3rd President and the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson conducted the first census of the population of the United States. The census was used to distribute seats in the House of Representatives among the States. However, there was controversy over the census because it was believed that not all people had been accounted for, particularly among the African American community. This was due to a dispersed population, poor transportation links, limitations of technology and individual refusal to participate.
In our September auction we were fortunate enough to have a magnificent Thomas Jefferson signed book. It was an extremely rare Thomas Jefferson signed first edition of the first U.S. census, one of only a handful of Thomas Jefferson signed book copies sold at auction in the last 40 years. This Thomas Jefferson signed book sold for $66,435.
As Secretary of State, Jefferson called for the first official census, and ratified the results of only a handful, this being one of them, signed boldly ”Th: Jefferson” on page 56. Published in Philadelphia: Childs and Swaine, 1791. Full title reads, ”Return of the Whole Number of Persons Within the Several Districts of the United States, According to ‘An Act Providing for the Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the Unites States’. Printed in a small number for distribution by Thomas Jefferson as Secretary of State, and from his direct descendant, Thomas Jefferson Coolidge Jr., with Mr. Coolidge’s crested label to front pastedown. Bound in 19th century half-morocco and marbled boards, book measures 5” x 7.25”. This copy appears to be one of the very first printings of the first edition, as it lacks the tipped-in late-returning results from South Carolina often found on page 54. The lower margins of pages 34, 42 and 43 have been shaved by binder, otherwise copy is near fine with a touch of toning and foxing. Volume also includes a press copy of an autograph letter signed by Jefferson, affixed to rear endpaper, dated 8 October 1797, measuring 6.5” x 7.75”. Letter concerns a quarterly dividend of ”a few dollars over 300”, payable to Col. James Monroe. A rare opportunity for the very first census of the United States, signed by its 3rd President, with other such copies selling for approx. $100,000. With provenance from Christie’s 21 June 2013 sale, lot 147, where this Thomas Jefferson signed book sold for $62,500.
We also sold this letter written entirely in Thomas Jefferson’s own hand for $226,871 regarding the Lewis & Clark Expedition.
Exceptional, museum-worthy report, handwritten by Thomas Jefferson as President, regarding the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Letter is addressed to William Jarvis of the U.S. consul in Lisbon, Portugal, dated 6 July 1805, describing the historic expedition that Jefferson authorized during his Presidency. In its entirety:
“Sir / Since my letters of the 19th & 20th of July 1804 I have received your favors of Oct. 6 Nov. 14-25 Dec. 3 1806 & May 15 1805. As also some articles of fruits & for which I may you accept my acknowledgments. The pipe of Arruda vine came also safely to hand, and is indeed of very superior quality. I should be glad to receive always of exactly the same quality, adhering to the rule of putting no brandy to them. I had been for some time expecting your draught [draft] for the amount; but as you mention in your last that when you forward another pipe you will draw for both, I shall hold myself in readiness, and will be glad the vine would come out in autumn, so as to be here before the winter sets in. It gives me much pleasure to see a hope that Portugal may be able to preserve her neutrality. That a government so just & inoffensive should be forced into a war with which it has nothing to do shows the most profligate disregard to human rights. It is a great felicity to us and it secures all our other felicities, that so wide an ocean is spread between us & the lions & tygers of Europe, as enables us to go forward in the path of justice and independence fearing nothing but our creator. The great powers of Europe could do us injury by sea & on our shores. But the spirit of independence in the country at large they can never bend. We are now suffering from privateers on our coast, and are therefore fitting out a naval force to go & force them to keep a reasonable distance from our shores. Capt. Lewis who has been sent to explore the Missouri to its source & thence to pursue the nearest water communication to the South sea, passed the last winter among the savages 1600 miles up the Missouri. Deputies from the great nations in that quarter (2500 miles from hence) are now on their way to visit us. Lewis finds the Indians every where friendly. He will probably set back in 1806. Receipt my friendly salutations and assurances of respect.”
We also sold this very scarce and beautiful White House china plate from the administration of Thomas Jefferson for $26,121.
This soup plate is made of white Chinese porcelain and is painted blue with gilt accents. Features a shallow bowl with gilt ”J” at center, inside a shield that bears a knight’s head decoration. Plate measures 9.5” in diameter, and is near fine.
The ship’s paper authorizes the passage of a ship, though the document is not dated or filled in with specifics as to which ship was allowed safe passage. With bold, clear signatures by Jefferson, ”Th:Jefferson” and Madison, ”James Madison” at lower right. Jefferson’s signature is large, measuring 2” x 1”. Reads in part, ”…To pass with her Company, Passengers, Goods and Merchandise without any hindrance, seizure or molestation…Given under the Hand and the Seal of the United States of America…” With two vignettes at top of a lighthouse and a sailboat. Original blindstamped seal at lower left.
To buy, sell or consign a Thomas Jefferson signed book, please email Nate@NateDSanders.com or call Nate D. Sanders at (310) 440-2982. Thank you.