JOSHUA A. "EMPEROR NORTON I" NORTON - AUTOGRAPH - HFSID 350395
Sale Price $2,337.50
JOSHUA NORTON. Signature: "faithfully/yours/Norton I./Emperor.", 3½ x 2½.
Businessman Joshua Norton (1811-1880), who arrived in San Francisco during the
1849 Gold Rush, made over $250,000 in one year. He capitalized on land investments and
tried to corner the market on rice. With eggs selling for $1.00 each, rice seemed a sure
investment; however, incoming ships brought tons more, dropping prices. By 1853, Norton
was bankrupt. Six years later, he re-emerged with a bizarre advertisement in the San
Francisco "Evening Bulletin": "…I, Joshua Norton…declare and proclaim myself
Emperor of these United States…and Protector of Mexico". The citizens who took notice
at all thought it was a joke, but Norton himself never realized that they did not take him
seriously. The Commander of Presidio, the army garrison, donated a uniform to him. Others
gave him free meals, the city presented him to Emperor Dom Pedro II in 1876, and soon the
booming city loved their unconventional character. As final tribute, San Francisco
placed a monument declaring him "Norton I. Emperor". Slightly creased. Lightly soiled at
lower margin. Fine condition. Framed to an overall size of 24x17. Minor chip at frame lower
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