Apr 15, 2021 - Sale 2564

Sale 2564 - Lot 287

Price Realized: $ 406
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
(PRESIDENTS--1840 CAMPAIGN.) Bets Made on the Presidential Election in Nov. 1840. 2 manuscript pages on one sheet, 7 3/4 x 10 pages, all in one consistent hand (presumably Alexander Donnan's) in two different inks; moderate wear, irregular edges, repairs along folds. [Petersburg, VA], November 1840

Additional Details

An unusual betting document compiled shortly before the 1840 presidential election. 27 bets are recorded, by 14 different men, all against one Alexander Donnan. Several of the bettors have been traced to Petersburg, VA, most notably the wonderfully named Armistead V. Prosise. Young University of Virginia graduate Alexander Donnan (1818-1892) had just begun practicing law in Petersburg in 1840. The bets are large for 1840, ranging from $1 to $30, but most were paid in articles of clothing: a coat, a vest, a hat, a pair of pantaloons. In all cases, Donnan seems to have supported the Whig Harrison, and his friends were all believers in Van Buren's doomed re-election campaign. Not all of the bets were for a straight Van Buren victory; some were on specific margins of votes or for specific states. The final accounting is convoluted, but we feel confident that Mr. Donnan went about well-clothed for the entirety of the William Henry Harrison presidency.