Skip to Main Content Skip to Header Menu Skip to Main Menu Skip to Category Menu Skip to Footer

John Jacob Astor Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

Born: July 17, 1763 in Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Died: March 29, 1848 in New York City, New York
Biography | show moreshow less
John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) had entered the fur business in the late 1780s, opening a fur goods shop in New York City. In 1794, he took advantage of Jay's Treaty (between Britain and the U.S.), which opened new markets in Canada and the Great Lakes region at the expense of the Canadians. By 1800, Astor had become one of the leading figures in the fur trade and was given permission to trade in ports monopolized by the British East India Company. He established the American Fur Company in 1808, later forming subsidiaries that included the Pacific Fur Company (which traded on the Columbia River) and the Southwest Fur Company (which traded in the Great Lakes area). Although Astor's fur business was disrupted when the British captured his trading posts during the War of 1812, his operations rebounded five years later, when Congress passed a protectionist law that banned foreign traders (including Britain) from U.S. territories. Astor's American Fur Company once again dominated trade in the area around the Great Lakes, and he had a thriving business, both buying furs from trappers and Indians and selling provisions and goods to trappers to be traded to the Indians for pelts. In 1822 he established the Astor House on Mackinac Island as the headquarters for his reformed American Fur Company. In 1834, with the decline of the fur trade, Astor withdrew from the company and began focusing his attention on his real estate holdings. At the time of his death in 1848, Astor was the wealthiest person in the United States, leaving an estate estimated to be worth at least $20 million. His estimated net worth, if calculated as a fraction of the U.S. gross domestic product at the time, would have been equivalent to $110.1 billion in 2006 U.S. dollars, making him the fifth-richest person in American history.

World-Wide Shipping

Fast FedEx and USPS shipping

Authenticity Guarantee

COA with every purchase

All Questions Answered

Contact us day or night

Submit Offers

Get a quick response