While not technically a bond, this intriguing fiscal document was issued by the “TREASURY DEPARTMENT” (presumably in Harrisburg, though not stated) on September 29th 1841” and was “Created by virtue of an Act of Assembly, entitled “An Act authorizing a Loan,” approved the 6th day of May, 1841 …”. The document is dominated at the upper left by a well-executed rendition of the Pennsylvania state seal, giving the piece an imposing appearance (the horses flanking the shield are particularly powerful looking). The central portion of the document features a lengthy financial obligation stating (in part) – “Be it known, That there is due from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, unto Ziba Pyle of West Chester or his assigns, the sum of One thousand five hundred Dollars, bearing interest at six per centum per annum, from the First day of June 1841, inclusive, payable semi annually at the State Treasury, or the Bank of Pennsylvania …”. This is followed by a continuation of the terms regarding the issuance, and concludes with the signatures of “Jno Gilmore” and “Geo. R. Espy” in their capacities of “State Treasurer” and “Auditor General”, respectively (John Gilmore had already served as a United States Representative from Pennsylvania). An attractive vertical swirl design dominates the whole left end of the document, with “Pennsylvania” printed in old English lettering between the design and the financial obligation. A lengthy manuscript transfer appears on the verso stating “For value recd I do hereby transfer & assign the within Stock to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”, followed by the signature of “B. Franklin Pyle” in his capacity as “Executor (?) of Z. Pyle decd” on “Nov. 13, 1852”. A witness to the transfer, “W L Schaff” has added his signature, below which is the mathematical calculations leading to the total to be paid (a total of $25.50 interest was added to the principal, and $1.27 in tax was deducted). The document measures approximately 4.80 x 9.25 inches, and is printed in black ink on an ivory paper, with the manuscript portions being accomplished in period ink. This document would make a great addition to any early American or Pennsylvania fiscal collection, especially with the interesting transfer on the verso.
John Gilmore was born in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, on February 18, 1780. After studying law, Gilmore was admitted to the bar in 1801, opening a practice in Washington, Pennsylvania. He moved to Butler, Pennsylvania in 1803, and the same year he was appointed district attorney of the county. He served as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1816 to 1821, the last year as speaker. He was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District, serving from 1829 through 1833. He was elected state treasurer for one year by the legislature of Pennsylvania in 1841. John Gilmore died in Butler on May 11, 1845, and was interred in that city’s North Cemetery.
The presently offered document exhibits signs of period use, and years of subsequent storage. Several folds, both vertical and horizontal, are present, with the horizontal one being the hardest and most dangerous to the document. This fold has caused some minor separation and paper loss at the junction with the right hand edge of the piece, strengthened on the verso with archival tape. There is also a small square section of paper missing in the upper right corner of the piece, well away from the body of the document (many of these issues could be concealed if the piece was matted and framed). The horizontal fold exhibits significant soiling, heavier on the back than the front. Soiling is also present along the right hand edge, melding into light beige toning as it nears the body of the document. Two “X” cancellations are present, one at the right edge of the vignette and the other below the recipient’s name in the financial statement. These cancellations occurred at the time this stock was redeemed and the transfer was written on the back. Several small pinholes are also present, widely scattered throughout, with a small cut below the Espy signature. Minor ink show through is noted, with a few letters actually burning through the paper and causing small holes (these are very minor). One small stain appears at the lower left, though this does not detract from the overall eye appeal. The contrast is sharp on the front, though there is some light fading to the manuscript material on the back. A very respectable specimen of this early issue.