Apr 15, 2021 - Sale 2564

Sale 2564 - Lot 163

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(CALIFORNIA.) Business license and billhead for San Francisco's first antiquarian bookseller, Epes Ellery. Pair of partly printed documents, 10 1/2 x 8 and 4 3/4 x 8 1/2 inches; folds, moderate edge wear to the license. San Francisco, CA, 1856 and 1864

Additional Details

Epes Ellery (1830-1914) arrived from Massachusetts to San Francisco in 1852, and by 1855 had opened an antiquarian book store--the city's first according to the California State Library. It was located on Washington Street through the 1861 city directory, and at 225 Montgomery in the 1862 and 1863 directories. From 1864 onward Ellery was listed as engaged in selling his own patent rubber cement, or as a real estate and mining investor. He moved across the bay to Alameda in 1867, where he spent his remaining 47 years.

Offered here is the county license issued to "E Ellery . . . to transact the business of books in Washington Street" for the preceding three months, for which he paid $7.50. It is signed by 3 local officials and dated 8 March 1856. Also included is an illustrated billhead for his "Antiquarian Book Store, 225 Montgomery Street, Importer and Dealer in New and Second-Hand Books, Stationery, Blank Books, Sheet Music, &c." It apparently documents his own company's $50 payment to Ellery as secretary of the "Antiquarian S.M. Co.," dated 12 May 1864--about the same time the book store disappeared from the city directories.

With--a group of 60 of Ellery's receipted invoices and cancelled checks relating to Ellery's later business ventures and household expenses, 1865-94. Most notable is an invoice from Newhall's Sons & Co., Auctioneers, for "2 pictures," which hammered at $1.75 and $3.50, in San Francisco on 2 March 1882.