History In Ink®  Historical Autographs


1927801

James Buchanan

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Beautiful franking signature by Buchanan

James Buchanan, 1791–1868.  15th President of the United States, 1857–1861.  Free frank, Free / James Buchanan, clipped from an envelope.

This is an exceptional free frank signature of Buchanan.  It is on a 1” x 4¾” slip of paper, slightly irregularly trimmed, that has been clipped from an envelope. 

Interestingly, Buchanan used the franking privilege despite his expressed distaste for it.  In an 1844 Senate debate over the franking privilege, Buchanan insisted that members of Congress had abused the privilege.  Daily, he said, Senators received mail addressed to them but intended for delivery to others when the sender would have had to stamp the mail to mail it to the others directly.  Many members of Congress, too, freely franked mail to be sent for others who sought to avoid paying for the postage.  Buchanan estimated that the privilege cost the Post Office Department $60,000 a year—the equivalent of more than $2 million today.  Later, in 1858, in his second State of the Union message, President Buchanan recommended that Congress give “grave consideration” to the proposals of the Post Office Department “to substitute for the franking privilege the delivery to those now entitled to enjoy it of post-office stamps for their correspondence” as a way to help alleviate the financial drain on the department. 

This piece comes with a vintage 8⅛” x 10⅝” oval engraving of Buchanan with a facsimile signature, perfect for framing.  The engraving has a bit of damp staining at the upper left corner that could easily be matted out.

Unframed.  Click here to ask us about custom framing this piece.

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$475.00

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