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John Jacob Astor

Autographed Document

1250491-1

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John Jacob Astor (July 17, 1763 – March 29, 1848) (born Johann Jakob Astor) was a German–American businessman, merchant, real estate mogul and investor who mainly made his fortune in fur trade and by investing in real estate in or around New York City.

Born in Germany, Astor immigrated to England as a teenager and worked as a musical instrument manufacturer. He moved to the United States after the American Revolutionary War. He entered the fur trade and built a monopoly, managing a business empire that extended to the Great Lakes region and Canada, and later expanded into the American West and Pacific coast. Seeing the decline of demand, he got out of the fur trade in 1830, diversifying by investing in New York City real estate and later becoming a famed patron of the arts.

He was the first prominent member of the Astor family and the first multi-millionaire in the United States.

Autograph Document Signed "John Jacob Astor" with flourish under signature, 1 page, 7" x 3". New York, January 16, 1800. Silked for preservation. Fine condition.

In full, "Recd of Mr Raunk one pound 6/ in full. New York 16 January 1800. £1.6.0 John Jacob Astor."

In his 20s, John Jacob Astor began to purchase raw hides from Native Americans, prepare them himself, and then resell them in London and elsewhere at great profit. He opened his own fur goods shop in New York in the late 1780s. Astor imported furs from Montreal to New York and shipped them to Europe. By 1800, the year he wrote the receipt here offered, John Jacob Astor had amassed almost a quarter of a million dollars, and had become one of the leading figures in the fur trade.

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