For Sale: Santa-Anna’s Extravagant Property in Veracruz
Signed by the Debt-Ridden “Napoleon of the West”
257. LÓPEZ DE SANTA-ANNA, Antonio. Ornate engraved pictorial mortgage bond on bank note paper within ornate border, decorative monetary designation of $500 in oversize green plaid lettering across center. Text commences: United States of America. No.  First Mortgage Bonds $500. Know all Men by these Presents that I Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna at Present in the City of New York, am Indebted to…. [above border at lower left] Nathan Lane 69 Wall & 91 Beaver Sts. N.Y.; [top center illustration of landscape featuring Santa-Anna’s estate in Veracruz with title beneath] Land and Property in the State of Vera Cruz; [three pictorial vignettes within ornate borders at left] Palace of Turbaco; [untitled bust portrait of Santa-Anna]; Palace of St. Thomas [signed certification with green seal within ornate border at right]; verso with official deep purple ink stamp and ink ms. number “1041.” New York, 1866. Signed in ink with paraph by Santa-Anna and orange seal to right of signature; signed by two others, plus a signature in red at left. Very fine.
After Santa-Anna’s (1794-1876) final ouster in 1855, his life became, perhaps deservedly, an unending series of frustrations and disappointments. He attempted to return to Mexico several times but was promptly deported on each occasion. In the U.S., he was swindled out of most of his savings by persons who claimed to have influence with the U.S. State Department. Virtually broke, he resorted to issuing mortgage bonds like this one on his properties to raise capital. Only after the death of Benito Juárez in 1872 was Santa-Anna permitted to return home. Even then, he was treated as an embarrassment by the government, and he died ignored and almost penniless in 1876.
This very crisp, highly accomplished engraving is the work of the firm of Nathan Hale, newspaper publisher of Boston, who also created maps (Tooley’s Dictionary of Mapmakers, revised edition, Vol. II, p. 248).
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Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2009