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1775 Paul Revere Engraved “King Philip” Bond to Captain “Joseph Lee” Boston Tea Party Participant & Privateer Signed First American Revolutionary War Bond in Massachusetts

CAPTAIN JOSEPH LEE (1744-1831). Boston Tea Party participant, Revolutionary War Patriot, Naval Architect and Shipbuilder, Sea Captain, Harvard graduate, prosperous merchant on historic Long Wharf in Boston, and in Salem, Massachusetts, during the Revolutionary War he built a fleet of Privateer ships and the first to receive an official Massachusetts Council Commission from Beverly, achieved the rank of Captain in The Revolutionary War, Member of the Massachusetts Lodge of Freemasons, Director of various banks and insurance companies, designed, for free, the “Essex Bridge,” and donated $20,000 to the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1830.

June 22, 1775-Dated, authentic original First American Revolutionary War Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, Paul Revere, Jr. Copper Plate Engraved and Printed, with Native American Indian Chief “King Philip” vignette design within the left Indent Border, Treasury Loan Certificate Document for 5 at 6% Interest, Anderson reference listed “The Price of Liberty” MA-1, Extremely Fine.

Rated as Rarity-6 (Very Rare 21-30 known) in the Anderson reference. This large format Engraved Printed Document is Signed, “Henry Gardner” (as Treasurer) with cross cancel of his name, measuring about 7.5” x 7.0” having exceptional centering within four fully wide margins. Silversmith Paul Revere’s hand-engraved workmanship is impressively displayed. A historic, highly important piece of American Revolutionary War finance as the very first interest bearing Bond issued to finance the War with Britain which began on April 19th, 1775 at Lexington & Concord. This most historic American Bond was printed off a Copper Plate which Paul Revere was commissioned to engrave for the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, with his payment recorded as 50 Pounds. This current example is among the finest quality known to us. Most examples are locked away in museum and other institutional collections, unavailable to collectors.

Impressively well printed rich black, this Bond is from a very early plate striking. The left indented margin has a vignette of the famous Native American Indian Chief “King Philip” sharply presented and very clear within the left border design. All features are clear including his face, head, hand holding a Liberty Pole with Cap, and flowing robes down to his moccasins, all in detail. Located above the Indian King’s head is an engraved vignette of the Massachusetts “Sacred Codfish.” Surrounding flourishes exhibit a classic Paul Revere style and character. The Patriotic and highly Political wording under the King Philip engraving reads: “(Am)erican Paper.” printed directly cut along the left side Indent border, meant as a direct deliberate “American” challenge to the British. Engraved “CMB” in fancy Script as a monogram represents, “Colony Massachusetts Bay”.

This Bond is very clean and attractive, completely original, and problem-free but for a few scattered fold pinholes, being well printed with sharp clear details on quality period laid paper. Four signatures appear on the face of this note. Signed by, “Henry Gardner” (as Receiver-General, cancel in red); Countersigned by S(amuel) Dexter, M(oses) Gunn, and Lem(ue)l. Kollock in blue and red color ink at left. Also, Signed on the blank verso by “Joseph Lee”; Docket on verso reads, "William Blaekler / Consolid 344.15 / Decer. 1 1781" when redeemed with 6% Interest payment made. This “King Philip” Bond engraved by Paul Revere is considered a true highlight for collectors of Paul Revere’s Engravings, Early American Fiscal History, and Revolutionary War specialists alike.

Issued to Long Wharf Boston merchant and participant in the Boston Tea Party, Joseph Lee (1744-1831), it reads for: "the Sum of fifty Pounds -- lawfull money for the Use and Service of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay... promise... to repay... the first Day of June one Thousand Seven hundred & Seventy Seven... in Spanish Mill’d Dollars, at Six Shillings each, or in the Several Species of coined Silver & Gold... with Interest to be paid annually at Six per Cent." This is not only the first Massachusetts Loan Certificate engraved by Paul Revere, it is the first of its kind issued by the Revolutionary Massachusetts Government to help finance the American Revolution. It was issued as a result of a 100,000 loan that was authorized by the Provincial Congress on May 3, 1775, only weeks following the outbreak of hostilities at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and the beginning of the American Revolution.

Joseph Lee was a successful Boston-based Shipmaster, ship builder, and merchant, who traded in the Caribbean and with Spain. On the night of December 16, 1773, Lee was one of several participants who helped dump over 300 chests of British Tea from the English ships Dartmouth, Beaver, and Eleanor, into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party. Joseph Lee was an active participant in the American Revolution, he built Privateer Ships for the earliest formation of the fledgling Continental Navy, and attained the rank of Captain. From Jan. 1922 “THE COLONIAL SOCIETY OF MASSACHUSETTS”... “No privateer sailing from Beverly received a commission from the Massachusetts Council prior to September 4, 1776, but several were so commissioned in which Beverly capital was interested. The earliest of these was the Ship “Revenge,” owned by Joseph Lee of Beverly (MA), and Miles Greenwood of Salem and commissioned May 14, 1776. The Revenge was a sloop of 90 tons burden, armed with twelve four- and six-pounders, and carrying a crew of 60 men. She was commanded in rapid succession by Joseph White, Benjamin Warren, Edward Gibaut, and Benjamin Dean, all of Salem. Her first two prizes, the ships Anna Maria and Polly, were among the first cases

tried in our (Massachusetts) prize courts.”

Joseph Lee’s manuscript receipt book, dating from Sept. 18th, 1780 to his death in 1831, is housed in the “Colonial North America Collection at Harvard University.” The first listed entry reading: “Beverly (MA) Septr. 18th, 1780. Recd. of Joseph Lee the Sum of two thousand & thirty Eight pound 11 3/4, in full for Outfitts (sic) on the Ship Franklin 4th & 5th Cruises ---- As my Grant.” (his share of bounty as Privateer) and “Beverly Febr. 21, 1781. Recd. of Joseph Lee the Sum of Two Thousand Seven Hundred & Seven pounds 14/5 -- on a/c (account) Ship Pilgrim 5th Criuse --- Signed Wm. Cleveland; another Febr. 25th on account for the Ship Cyrus, etc.

Additional Information:

CAPTAIN JOSEPH LEE (1744-1831). Papers have been assembled and are part of the Lee Family Papers, 1680-1917, at The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum, 132 Essex Street Salem, MA. In an online document, the Museum offers this following biographical sketch:

“Joseph Lee was born in Salem, Massachusetts and baptized on May 13, 1744, the son of Thomas and Lois (Orne) Lee. His father, Thomas Lee was a Harvard graduate and prosperous merchant in Boston and Salem, Massachusetts. Joseph was a sea captain, and merchant in Boston, Beverly, and Salem, operating his own merchant business with his in-laws, the Cabots, at the firm Cabot and Lee. During this time, he maintained mercantile trade with the West Indies and Spain.

Joseph Lee was a successful merchant on Long Wharf in Boston, when on the night of December 16, 1773, Lee was one of several participants who helped dump over 300 chests of British Tea from the English ships; Dartmouth, Beaver, and Eleanor, into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party. Joseph was also a skilled naval architect, and during the Revolutionary War he built a fleet of ships, which he sent out as Privateers. It was during the Revolutionary War that Joseph achieved the rank of Captain.

As a shipbuilder, it was Joseph’s responsibility, upon receiving a contract for a ship, to supervise the entire building process to choose plans and carpenters, and to make all purchases of construction materials, rigging, etc. He later built at least Nine Vessels from 1813 to 1816 for such notable individuals and firms such as Thomas H. Perkins, and Ropes Pickman and Company (see Appendix II).

Joseph Lee moved to Boston in 1807, and became a Director of various banks and insurance companies. He designed, for free, the “Essex Bridge,” loved gardening, and donated $20,000 to Massachusetts General Hospital a year before he died.

Lee was a Member of the Massachusetts Lodge of Freemasons. Dr. Joseph Warren was the Master of the Lodge of St. Andrews when he was killed by the British at the Battle of Bunker Hill. He was replaced as Master by John Hancock, who would become President of the Continental Congress, and be the only member of Congress to actually Sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Patriot and Silversmith Paul Revere, Jr. was also a Mason and member of the Lodge.

At a “special communication” on July 4, 1995, M.W. David W. Lovering (Lodge Grand Master 1993-1995), and other Grand Lodge officers and members marched from the Old State House to the current State House to “Relay the Cornerstone,” which was originally laid by Master Paul Revere on July 4, 1795. The trowel that was symbolically used was one that had been handmade by Paul Revere.

Joseph’s first wife was Elizabeth Cabot, the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Higginson) Cabot, whom he married June 9, 1769; they had twelve children together. Elizabeth Lee died in June 1783. Joseph married his second wife, Deborah (Higginson) Cabot, the daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth (Cabot) Higginson, on May 12, 1793. He died on February 6, 1831, and is buried at the Old Granary Burying Ground, tomb number 125 [alongside, or as part of, George Cabot’s tomb-LSL], in Boston.”

Of Related Interest:

A Highly Important Lee Family Chippendale Carved and Figured Mahogany Desk-and-Bookcase, possibly by George Bright, Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1765-1785, likely originally owned by Joseph Lee (1744-1831) of Salem and Boston, who married Elizabeth Cabot (1746/47-1786), sold at Sotheby’s auction New York, January 20th, 2017 for about $300,000.00 and was offered together with another lot 4012, being a rare American Corporate Silver Seal of the Proprietors of Essex Bridge, Boston, dated 1788, possibly engraved by Paul Revere Jr. one of his fellow Mason Grand Lodge members in Boston.
Item #113498Price: $25,000.00Add to CartMake Your Best Offer...
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