Superlative hand-addressed free frank as president, measuring 9.75 x 6.75 unfolded, with center panel measuring 5 x 3.25, addressed by Jefferson to “Genl Samuel Smith, Baltimore,” and beautifully franked in the upper left, “free, Th: Jefferson.” The panel bears a “Free” ink stamp and postal cancellation of “Wash City Oct 12”; there was previously an autograph letter integral to this free frank, dated October 10, 1891, which was cleanly clipped off and removed. In fine condition, with professionally repaired partial separations to perimeter folds (a horizontal fold passes through the center panel but is intact and untouched), a couple miniscule tears to edges, and the postmark only superficially touching the downstroke of one letter in his signature.
Samuel Smith was a distinguished soldier and politician who joined the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, and later commanded the defenses during the Battle of Baltimore and Fort McHenry in the War of 1812. Smith received this from President Jefferson while serving in the House of Representatives, where he had in fact negotiated Jefferson’s appointment to the presidency just a year earlier in the hotly disputed election of 1800, after the Electoral College vote had resulted in a tie between Jefferson and Aaron Burr. A beautiful exemplar with immensely desirable characteristics—all writing is exceedingly crisp and bold, it dates to an early time in his first presidential term, and presents an excellent association with the American Revolution and establishment of its new federal government. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.