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Thomas Jefferson and James Madison 1805 Signed ‘X’ patent

30 Mar

Partly-printed vellum DS, signed “Th: Jefferson” as president and “James Madison” as secretary of state, one page, 12.5 x 14.5, October 1, 1805. An offical patent issued to “Samuel Bartlett a Citizen in the United States, [who] hath alledged that he has invented a new and useful improvement being a Clay pipe for Conduits.” Neatly signed at the conclusion by President Jefferson and Secretary of State Madison, as well as Secretary of the Navy Robert Smith. The embossed white paper seal and light blue ribbons to the left side remain intact. The second page, still attached by the binding ribbon, contains Bartlett’s own description of the manufacturing techniques used in making conduits out of clay. In fine condition, with intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through a couple letters of Madison’s signature), both signatures a shade light, and foxing to folds on the second page. A fire in the patent office on December 15, 1836, destroyed a great majority of patents issued by the United States government over the previous forty years. Approximately 10,000 patent documents were lost, with about 2,800 recovered. When creating a filing system for these documents years later, all patents issued prior to the fire were numbered with an ‘X’ prefix—this example designated as ‘X637.’ As an uncommon example of such an ‘X’ patent in its complete and original form signed by two of America’s important early presidents, this is a fascinating document of historical interest. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA.

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