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    William Pitt Stamp Act Repealed Box. Of the many events that precipitated the American Revolution, perhaps none are more than significant than the passage of the Stamp Act of 1765 (a.k.a., "The Duties in American Colonies Act 1765"). It was a direct tax imposed by the British Parliament specifically on the American colonies, designed to pay for the expenses incurred in the French and Indian Wars. It required colonists to use specially embossed or stamped paper produced in England on practically all printed articles. The act provoked widespread opposition and cries of "No taxation without representation!" The Sons of Liberty organized mass demonstrations which sometimes turned violent. The Stamp Act Congress held in New York petitioned Parliament and the King for its repeal. The ensuing disruption of commerce prompted British merchants to adopt a similar position. In this they were aided by William Pitt who spoke eloquently in the colonist's cause. Most of the officials responsible for collecting the tax resigned their commissions. As a matter of expediency, the act was repealed one year after its enactment on March 18, 1766, although Parliament asserted its right to legislate for the colonies "in all cases whatsoever." Pro-American politicians like Pitt (1st Earl of Chatham, Foreign Secretary, Prime Minister) and John Wilkes became heroes in the colonies. During this period, teapots were produced in England inscribed "No Stamp Act" (some of which found their way to America). Medals, snuff boxes and clothing buttons were made after the repeal to commemorate the event. Into that category falls this leather-covered box with gilt-stamped decoration. The box measures 17" long, 9.5" deep and 7" tall. It is covered on all sides with leather which we believe was originally dyed a bright red. There is a crudely fashioned handle on the top, hasp and lock-plate. As far as the stamped devices are concerned, the central part of the lid has a diamond-shaped enclosure. Within that enclosure are a coronet, the initials W.P. (standing for William Pitt), and the inscription "Stamp Act Repd. [Repealed] March 18, 1766." To either side appear orbs (the Seal of the City of London) with the initials B.T. (possibly "British Tax"). In the background are four identical designs. Each of them have four interlocking "gears" which may represent sunbursts. The outer perimeter has a continuous floral design. The interior is lined with mid-18th-century imprints of maps, a symbolic personification of "America," and "An Accurate Description of America." These types of boxes are generically known as "Dispatch Boxes" with all that the name implies. When first made, this example must have been exquisite, with the gold-stamped decoration contrasting dramatically with the red leather. In the ensuing 245 years, the leather has toned a reddish-brown and the gilding faded. The leather is quite delicate with overall cracking and scattered areas of loss on the sides. The leather on the lid is virtually complete and the central decoration remains bold. Outside of the addition of a rawhide cord and eyelets on the inside, it appears entirely original.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2011
    21st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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