Impressive twice-signed manuscript DS on vellum, signed “B. Franklin” and “Benj. Franklin,” one page, 26 x 21.5, January 12, 1753. An indenture wherein “widdow” Hannah White of Germantown [Pennsylvania] transfers to Thomas Rose of Bristol a parcel of land “for the consideration of the sum of one hundred and twenty two pounds lawful money.” Franklin signs twice, within (“Benj. Franklin”) and following (“B. Franklin”) a statement of witness. Two seals, one wax and one wax and paper, remain intact near the right edge. Handsomely matted and framed with a nineteenth-century portrait engraving to an overall size of 43 x 32. In very good condition, with heavy folds (one touching the last name of ‘internal’ signature), toning and some separations at intersections of folds (affecting a few words), and scattered soiling and spotting (mainly confined to lower border), as well as mirroring of text to blank lower margin. Overall, the document displays quite attractively and the second signature is virtually unaffected by any of the document’s flaws.
Franklin was at the peak of his scientific discoveries when he signed this document. In 1753, he founded the Academy of Sciences of Philadelphia and published—in his own Poor Richard’s Almanack—his pioneering article describing the lightning rod, an invention that evolved from his legendary kite-flying experiment of the previous year. In addition, he was awarded with the Royal Society’s Copley Medal for his work on electricity, and both Harvard and Yale awarded him honorary degrees. Franklin’s offices at the time included Postmaster of Philadelphia, Deputy Postmaster of the British Colonies in America, and member of the Pennsylvania Assembly. A commanding document signed in the rare manner of “Benj. Franklin,” the form he used to sign the Declaration of Independence. Oversized. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.