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Auction 14: Americana

Lots 13-15: Texian Loan, Austin Bust

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Texian Loan

13. [AUSTIN, Stephen F.]. TEXAS (Provisional Government). COMMISSIONERS. Texian Loan.... New Orleans: Benjamin Levy, 1836. Engraved document, unused, with Stephen F. Austin’s unsigned ink manuscript note: “copy first loan” and his ink cancel. 4to broadside, text within ornate typographical border. Creased where formerly folded, small void at top left blank margin, otherwise fine.
    First printing, probably the earliest issued, perhaps a proof copy made for Stephen F. Austin, who was one of the Commissioners for the Texian Loan. Signed Texian Loans turn up on the market with regularity (see next entry). It is highly unusual to a find a copy that is unsigned and uncanceled. Jumonville, New Orleans Imprints 944. The Provisional Government issued the Texian Loan certificates to raise funds for the revolution. They were redeemable for land at fifty cents per acre.

    Eugene C. Barker, in “The Finances of the Texas Revolution” (in a reprint of the Political Science Quarterly 19:4) explained this attempt to raise funds: “On January 10 the commissioners notified Governor Smith that they had arranged for two loans aggregating $250,000. The fact that this could be done in New Orleans, where the Texas situation was so well known, they considered particularly encouraging and of good augury for success in other parts of the United States. It will be seen from their terms that these so called loans were really nothing more than contracts for the purchase of five hundred thousand acres of land at fifty cents an acre; but the commissioners thought themselves very fortunate to get money on any terms. ‘In fact, rather than have missed the loan,’ they wrote, ‘we had better have borrowed the money for five years and given them the land in the bargain.’ They were of the opinion, moreover, that the loan would increase the interest in Texas; the lenders, they said, had already offered to land in Texas within six weeks five hundred volunteers.... The first loan, of $200,000, was subscribed by ten men, four of whom were from Cincinnati, three from Kentucky, two from Virginia, and one from New Orleans.”

14. [AUSTIN, Stephen F.]. TEXAS (Provisional Government). COMMISSIONERS. Texian Loan.... New Orleans: Benjamin Levy, 1836. Engraved document completed in manuscript, signed by Stephen F. Austin, B. Archer, and William H. Wharton. Certificate no. 251, made out to Robert Triplett. 4to broadside, text within ornate typographical border. Very lightly creased where formerly folded, otherwise fine, with triangular clip cancel.

    First printing, printed date of January 11, 1836, the earliest date for any of the known Texian Loan certificates. See preceding entry for additional information.

15. [AUSTIN, STEPHEN F.]. Pen, graphite, and sepia ink wash bust portrait of Stephen F. Austin, unsigned and undated, on a faintly ruled sheet of nineteenth-century wove paper measuring 30.5 x 19.5 cm (12-3/8 x 7-3/4 inches); image measures approximately 16.5 x 10 cm (6-1/2 x 3-7/8 inches), small indecipherable embosure at lower right margin. Nineteenth-century ink notation on verso: “List of taxable[?] property.” Lower left and upper right blank corners chipped (not affecting image). Some light stains and moderate foxing.

    The portrait is very similar to the mid-nineteenth-century unattributed oil-on-canvas bust portrait of Stephen F. Austin that hangs in the Texas Senate Chamber behind the lieutenant governor’s rostrum.

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