TONTINE COFFEE HOUSE (NEW YORK CITY). The Constitution and Nominations of the Subscribers to the Tontine Coffee-House.New York, 1796.

Constitution of the Tontine Coffee House, the precursor to the New York Stock Exchange, in original wrappers and with contemporary annotations; the Streeter copy.The Tontine Coffee House, established in early 1793 on Wall Street in Manhattan, was built to serve as a meeting place for trade and correspondence. Its constitution, though not the earliest of the tontine plans established in America, is probably the best known. Participants representing the cream of New York society contributed a total of $40,600, in 203 shares costing $200 each, towards building and equipping a coffee house. During their lifetime, a nominee and holder of a share participated proportionally in the profits, but on the death of the nominee the share became void. When eventually only seven nominees were left, the entire property was to vest in the holders of the seven corresponding shares. Among the original shareholders were such luminaries as John Jacob Astor, William Bayard, Anthony L. Bleecker, Abraham Brinckerhoff, John Broome, John Peter De Lancey, Nicholas Fish, Rufus King, Robert Lenox, Philip Livingston, William Rhinelander, Walter Rutherfurd, Gilbert Saltonstall, Richard Varick, and Gulian Verplanck. Evans 30886.

Quarto (243 x 201mm). Old annotations in ink, indicating “dead” and date, next to several names. Original blue paper upper wrappers, uncut (browned, wrappers frayed and worn); modern slipcase and clam-shell box. Provenance: Thomas W. Streeter (1883-1965; his sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, 21-22 Oct. 1969, lot 4026).
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