May 22, 2014 - Sale 2351

Sale 2351 - Lot 24

Price Realized: $ 2,048
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
FRANKLIN, BENJAMIN. Letter press copy of an Autograph Letter Signed, "BFranklin," to London bookseller Thomas Walter ("Mr. Walter"), informing him that he received the books but that the Neckar [Jacques Necker] book on finance was not among them and that the wrong book was sent in its place, wishing him success in bookselling, and hoping that Walter's invention can be brought to perfection. 1 page, 4to, tissue paper; mounted to a larger album leaf with faint staining from mounting overall (but still legible), tears and holes at all edges with loss to few letters of text at right edge, folds. Philadelphia, 4 November [circa 1784]

Additional Details

"I received your Favour of July 18 together with the Books of which it contains the List, except that the first Volume of Neckar on Finance is wanting, and that there is come instead of it a first Volume of Derham's Physico-Theology, . . .
"I am surprised and sorry, very much so, to understand that my subscription was prejudicial to you. I hope however you will be able to carry your Invention to Perfection."
Jacques Necker (1732-1804), finance minister for Louis XVI, advocated reforms in an effort to prevent the French Revolution. His book, Traité de l'administration des finances de la France, published in 1784, is likely the book that Franklin seeks in this letter.
Along the right edge of this letter, portions of the watermark "J Watt & Co Patent Copying" are visible, demonstrating that Franklin made the copy using James Watt's press-copy machine, patented in 1780.
This letter does not appear in Yale University's Papers of Benjamin Franklin.