Crocker, Charles (1822-1888) U.S. Railroad Executive and tycoon. Crocker joined Leland Stanford, Mark Hoskins and Collis Huntington in planning and managing construction of the Central Pacific Railroad. He instituted the "coolie system" -- importing cheap Chinese labor and working them to the point of exhaustion. He also served as President of Southern Pacific Railroad.
Document Signed ("Chas Crocker"). Partially printed, accomplished in manuscript. As Vice President of the Central Pacific Rail Road. Three pages, 17 x 14", Nevada County, California, August 4, 1884. Being a deed of trust to A.B. Driesbach. Notarized on third page and docketed on verso of third page. Intact seals of the Central Pacific Railroad Company and notary at bottom of second page. Folded with minor foxing and age toning, minor stain at right edge. In very good to fine condition.
In addition to building the Railroad, Crocker was involved in real estate and commercial deals up and down the West Coast -- he and his business partners (known as "The Big Four") were largely responsible for developing the fledgling California economy. This rare document is a great example of Crocker's reach; acting in his position as Vice President at the Central Pacific Railroad, he presides over a land sale. A wonderful opportunity for collectors.
Estimated Value $1,500-UP.
Fair, James (1831-1894). "Slippery Jim." Involved in the development of Nevada gold and silver mines, various railroad projects in California and Nevada and many manufacturing interests. One of the builders of the West.
Check Signed ("James G. Fair"). Partially printed, accomplished in autograph. 3¼ x 7¾", n.p., March 3, 1874. The check is drawn on Gould & Curry Silver Mining Company's account at the Bank of California and made payable in the amount of $150. Fair signs the recto. Ink blots at lower left edge. Otherwise fine condition.
Written while Fair was making a fortune in mining and on various stock exchanges, this check, number 1745, is a nice piece signed by one of the men who made the West.
Estimated Value $100-150.
Gambino, Carlo (1902-1976). Legendary Mafia don. The "Godfather" began his life of crime in Italy, where he was inducted into the "Honored Society" at the age of 19. At that time, Musolini had made it clear that he would not allow the "Society" to continue, and Gambino emigrated to America to join his family, the Castellanos. He began working as a runner during Prohibition, and soon joined forces with Lucky Lucino slowly moving up to be the head of one of the Five Families of organized crime in New York. It was only towards the end of his life that the authorities were able to catch up with him, often trying to deport Gambino who had never become a citizen. The sickly Italian used his ill-health to avoid trial and deportation, frequently faking heart attacks.
Check Signed ("Carlo Gambino"). Partially printed, accomplished in manuscript. 8¼ x 3", New York, April 17, 1963.The check is drawn on an "S.G.S. Associates" account at the Chase Manhattan Bank and made payable to one George Schiller in the amount of $400.00. Punch canceling, dated stamped verso, and stamped recto. Ink of stamp on recto has smeared. The signature is unaffected and remains bold and in fine condition.
Gambino signs this check issued by S.G.S. Associates -- Gambino's public and labor relations firm which settled disputes for a cache of impressive clients. One of Gambino's legitimate businesses, alas, the company was closed after both state and federal investigations.
Estimated Value $1,000-1,500.
Getty, J. Paul (1892-1976). American businessman and oil entrepreneur. Getty gained control of Pacific Western Oil, renamed it Getty Oil Company and amassed a billion dollar fortune. His philanthropic endeavors established the world-renowned J. Paul Getty Museum, devoted to the preservation of arts and antiquities.
Check Signed ("J. Paul Getty"). Partially printed, accomplished in typescript. 8½ x 3½", New York, May 1943. The check is drawn on Getty's account at the Chase National Bank and made payable to Security First National Bank of Los Angeles in the amount of $3,750. Getty signs the recto. Punch cancelling and stamp endorsements verso. Two hole punches at top edge, two small pinholes at upper left, and markings from cancelling. Still, signature is bold and the piece is in fine condition.
Designated for the purchase of five U.S. savings bonds, Getty signs his name on a universal check for $3,750.
Estimated Value $150-250.
Lansky, Meyer (1902-1983) One of the wealthiest and most powerful figures in American organized crime, he controlled major gambling interests up and down the East Coast and in pre-Castro Cuba.
Signed Check ("Meyer Lansky" ). Partially printed, accomplished in manuscript. 6¼ x 3", Boston, May 2, 1938. Drawn on Lansky's account at the Shawmut Bank of Boston and made payable to "Collector of Internal Revenue" in the amount of $890.69. Punch cancelled and stamped recto and verso. Surface abrasion on recto crosses "Meyer." In very good condition.
Likely wishing to avoid Al Capone's fate, here Lansky pays his taxes. Meyer Lansky had spent the post-Prohibition 1930s building his gambling empire and we can be confident that while $890.69 may represent a significant portion of Lansky's reported income, this sum would not come close to covering the taxes on his actual income.
Estimated Value $600-650.
Ringling, John (1866-1936). Circus impresario. The best known of the seven Ringling Brothers, John was the influential force in acquiring both the Barnum & Bailey Circus, as well as the American Circus Corporation, truly making the family's business the "Greatest Show on Earth".
Document Signed ("John Ringling"). Partially printed, accomplished in manuscript. Two pages, recto and verso, oblong quarto, n.p., January 25, 1915. Being an artist's contract. In black ink. One vertical and three horizontal folds, soiling along folds, ink has smeared in two small areas at center edge, toning. In very good to fine condition overall.
Ringling lends his signature to this binding agreement -- a contract hiring an acrobatic contortion act known as the "Four Melillo Sisters" which consisted of "four ladies, assisted by one gentleman". As a condition of this agreement, the Ringling Brothers agreed "to pay the ARTIST the sum of one hundred & seventy five dollars, payable weekly for each week's work performed". A week's work however, consisted of a full twelve performances.
Estimated Value $400-450.