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Robert Louis Stevenson

Personal check of the famed Scottish author from

the place he wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, 1850–1894.  Scottish novelist, poet, essayist, and travel writer.  Personal check, 3¼" x 8¼", January 11, 1887.

Stevenson wrote this check to a William Townsend, who has endorsed it on the back.  It is drawn for 1, 10 shillings, 10 pence on the Bournemouth branch of the Wilts & Dorset Banking Company Limited. 

From 1885 to 1887, Stevenson spent his summers in the village of Westbourne, which is now part of Bournemouth, a resort city on the south coast of England southwest of Southampton and Portsmouth. 

It was there that Stevenson wrote one of his most noted works, the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which was published in 1886.  The story centers on a London lawyer who investigates a series of strange occurrences between his friend Dr. Henry Jekyll and the evil Edward Hyde.  Stevenson named Jekyllʼs butler Mr. Poole after the town of Poole, which is next to Bournemouth.

Stevenson himself suffered health problems, but it is during this period that he wrote his most enduring works.  His first widely popular book was Treasure Island (1883), which initially appeared in 1881–1882 as a magazine serial; A Childrenʼs Garden of Verses, childrenʼs poems first published as Penny Whistles (1883); Kidnapped (1886), also a serial; The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886); Underwoods (1887), another collection of poems; and The Black Arrow:  A Tale of the Two Roses (1888).

Stevenson has engrossed and signed this check in black ink.  The typical ink cancellation affects only three letters of Stevensonʼs" signature.  The check has an almost imperceptible vertical fold, faint creases at the upper left and lower right, a couple of small foxing spots, and a stain or scorch mark in the upper right corner.  None of these affects the signature.  There is an old dealer pencil notation in a blank area at the left.  Overall the check is in fine condition.




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