Virtually nonexistent personal check, written entirely in Poe’s hand, 6.5 x 2.5, payable to Harnden & Co. for $30.00, May 14, 1846. Poe instructs his lawyer, L. A. Godey, Esq, “At three days’ sight, please pay to the order of Harnden & Co. Thirty Dollars, and charge the same to my account. New York. May 14, 1846. Edgar A. Poe.” Docketing on the reverse in another hand reading, “E. A. Poe, May 15/46, $30.-,” and “Harnden Co.” In very good condition, with several vertical creases and some light surface creasing, scattered light soiling, a few trivial ink spots, light show-through from the docketing on the reverse, and three expected cancellation lines through the signature.
Louis A. Godey, an American publisher, bookseller and editor, owned Godey's Magazine and The Lady's Book, and from May-October 1846 ran a series of articles by Poe entitled "The Literati of New York City," resulting in anonymous letters "requesting us to be careful what we allow Mr. Poe to say of New York authors." Godey defended the author by replying, "We are not to be intimidated by a threat or the loss of friends, or turned from our purpose…Mr. Poe has been ill, but we have letters from him of very recent dates, also a new batch of the Literati, which show anything but feebleness either in body or mind."
Poe sent his articles via Harden & Co., the first express company which sent mail via rail; the publisher, in turn, would see that Harnden was paid for its services. That year Poe also brought a libel suit against editor Hiram Fuller and the Evening Mirror which had called the writer "a poor creature…in a condition of sad, wretched imbecility" (July 20, 1846) as well as having a "habit of misrepresentation…and malignity is so much a part of his nature, that he continually goes out of his way to do ill-natured things" (July 23, 1846). Some of this verbal abuse stemmed between the very public feud between Poe and one of the newspaper's writers, Thomas Dunn English, whom he knew but in the "Literati" stated "I do not personally know Mr. English." It was a lie, but the Mirror's vicious, unrelenting libel on Poe resulted in the court upholding the author’s suit and he received $225 in damages. This extremely rare check is the only known check written entirely in Poe's hand, and offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Previously auctioned at Sotheby's in 2001. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.