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    Description

    Incredibly rare (and illegal) FDR presidential free frank!

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Signed Free Frank Postal Cover as President.
    -September 15, 1940. Washington, D.C. 7.25" x 4.75". White House envelope.
    -To: Mr. Abe Schoenfeld, New York City.
    -Excellent condition.

    Signed in full above postmark. Very, very rare. The original 1957 letter from legendary autograph dealer Charles Hamilton to the original purchaser is included. It provides an interesting description of the envelope and a relative context for its extreme rarity. It reads, in part: "Some time ago I chatted with a collector who owns the only two known franked envelopes of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President. He was once offered $8,000 for one of them! The envelopes to which I refer are not ordinary signed covers... but are genuine franks. Only because he had done an important political favor for F.D.R. was the owner able to persuade the President - to use F.D.R.'s words - 'to break the law.' Before me lies one of those envelopes - a beautiful example on a pale blue White House cover. Not a penalty cover, but a regular White House envelope. The signature of Roosevelt is in the upper right hand corner, and beneath it, almost touching it, is the Washington postmark. It is in beautiful condition, and is the rarest of all Presidential franks."

    Presidents of the United States enjoyed the franking privilege until 1873, when after much official abuse, it was abolished. Although Congress granted itself the frank only two years later, it was never granted again to a sitting president of the United States.


    More Information:

    The extended description below was supplied by the consignor. We are making it available to our web bidders who are interested in more in-depth research and broader historical perspective. Please note that presentation (i.e. framing), lot divisions, and interpretations of condition and content may occasionally differ from our descriptions. Assertions of fact and subjective observations contained in this description represent the opinion of the consignor. These remarks have not been checked for accuracy by Heritage Auctions, and we assume no responsibility for their accuracy; they are offered purely to allow the bidder insight into the way the consignor has viewed the item(s) in question. No right of return or claim of lack of authenticity or provenance based upon this extended description will be granted.

     

    Extremely rare Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Free Frank as President of the United States. Every element of this official White House Presidential envelope – "The White House" at the upper left, the typewritten address to Abe Schoenfeld, Esq. of New York City, the September 15, 1940 postmark from Washington, D.C., and the signature "Franklin D. Roosevelt" – is as bold as its hue allows, either brilliant blue or jet black. FDR's signature is an exquisitely crafted beauty, grading "10." The paper White House envelope itself, measuring 7 ¼ x 4 ¾," boasts exquisite near mint condition. This illegal FDR free frank was sold by renowned autograph expert Charles Hamilton in 1957, and Hamilton's introductory letter and original receipt to the buyer, Morton Dean Joyce of New York City, are also included in this rare FDR free frank collection. The letter from Mr. Hamilton to Mr. Joyce, dated March 11, 1957, provides an interesting description of the envelope and a relative context for its extreme rarity. It reads, in part: "Some time ago I chatted with a collector who owns the only two known franked envelopes of Franklin D. Roosevelt as President. He was once offered $8,000 for one of them! The envelopes to which I refer are not ordinary signed covers (such as the one owned by Mr. Stern), but are genuine franks. Only because he had done an important political favor for F.D.R. was the owner able to persuade the President – to use F.D.R.'s words – ‘to break the law.' Before me lies one of those envelopes – a beautiful example on a pale blue White House cover. Not a penalty cover, but a regular White House envelope. The signature of Roosevelt is in the upper right hand corner, and beneath it, almost touching it, is the Washington postmark. It is in beautiful condition, and is the rarest of all Presidential franks." Impeccable provenance and preservation are truly the capstones to this elite gem. Quite literally, FDR "broke the law" in sending this envelope to Mr. Schoenfeld using the free frank! Presidents of the United States, as well as Vice Presidents, members of the House of Representatives and United States Senate, and other Federal officials enjoyed the franking privilege until 1873, when after much official abuse, it was abolished. Although Congress granted itself the frank only two years later, it was never granted again to a sitting President of the United States. What a magnificent and one of a kind, not to mention illegal, FDR-signed item.



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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,139

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