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Paul Revere, 'King Philip' Bond signed by Boston Tea Party Participant Captain Joseph Lee, estimated at $20,000-$30,000 at Early American History Auctions.

Colonial Boston engraving and Paul Revere war bond lead Early American’s June 8 sale

WINCHESTER, VA — An original printing of a well-known image of colonial Boston will be offered at Early American History Auctions on Saturday, June 8. The circa-1761 engraving of a view of the city after a drawing by the Royal Governor of Massachusetts, Thomas Pownall (1722-1805), has an estimate of $10,000-$12,000. The complete catalog is available for review and bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

The City of Boston Drawn on the Spot by his Excellency, Governor Pownal is one of six prints based on Pownall’s sketches that formed part of the Scenographia Americana. The complete work, with a total of 28 copper engraved plates, is a legendary rarity, and as no copies have appeared for sale at auction in the past 30 years, individual prints are all that a collector can really hope for.

Pownall’s drawing of Boston, which was engraved by Pierre Charles Canot (1710-1777), shows the city from the vantage point of Castle William, looking across the Charles River. South Cove, South Battery, Fort Hill, and Long Wharf are visible. The auction house describes this as ‘the finest we have seen.’ A strong sharp impression, it is in excellent, clean, crisp condition, with its original plate line still visible to the outer margin selvage.

Governor Thomas Pownal, a skilled artist and trained mapmaker, was a longtime friend of Benjamin Franklin and one of the few colonial officials in North America sympathetic to progressive American causes as they arose in the 1760s.

This sale, titled Autographs, Currency, Political, Americana, also features what the auction house calls ‘a highly important piece of American Revolutionary War finance.’ Issued in May 1775, not only was this the first type of interest-bearing war bond, but the design, with a vignette of Native American Indian chief ‘King Philip’, was printed using a copper plate engraved by Paul Revere. A particular appeal of this printing is the signature of Captain Joseph Lee, a participant in the Boston Tea Party, who committed £50 to the cause. One of just a few held in private hands, it is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.