Item #7796 [Uncut sheet of four Hartford & New Haven Turnpike tickets]. Amos Doolittle, engraver.

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[Doolittle, Amos, engraver.]

[Uncut sheet of four Hartford & New Haven Turnpike tickets].

[New Haven, circa 1799.]. Engraving on laid paper, consisting of four complete turnpike passes and the top portions of two additional passes at the bottom, 4.75” X 5.5” (sheet size). CONDITION: Good, crease through six and four cent tickets, light foxing,

A rare uncut sheet of four different passes for the Hartford & New Haven Turnpike in Connecticut, engraved by Amos Doolittle and illustrated with charming vignettes of various forms of transportation.

During the 1790s many banks were formed throughout Connecticut and the nation. Sensing an opportunity in this trend, Doolittle advertised himself as an engraver of bank notes, drumming up a good deal of business. The tickets offered here constitute another form of currency he engraved during this period. The denominations vary according to the “load” passing through the toll gate, which is specified by image and text. The twenty-five cent pass was for a coach-and-two; the twelve cent pass was for a “Loaded Waggon, Sled & P. Sleigh”; the six cent pass was for a “Single Horse, Cart loaded, empty cart, Sled, Sleigh & Waggon”; and the four cent pass was for a single rider on a horse “& empty Horsecart.” While the present tickets were never used, the visual impact and original state of the uncut sheet makes them particularly appealing.

Amos Doolittle (1754–1832) was born in Cheshire, Connecticut, where he learned the rudiments of engraving on metal while apprenticed to local silversmith Eliakim Hitchcock. After completing his apprenticeship, he moved to New Haven, likely in 1774 or early 1775. Soon after arriving, he joined the local militia and marched to Cambridge under the command of Benedict Arnold just a few days after the Battle of Lexington & Concord. Animated by patriotic fervor and sensing an opportunity, Doolittle visited the battlefield, likely in the company of artist Ralph Earl (1751–1801), who is thought to have made a series of sketches of the battle and its setting. Upon returning to New Haven, Doolittle made a set of four engravings based on Earl’s drawings, which he advertised in the Connecticut Journal for December 13, 1775. These were Doolittle’s first engravings and would become the most iconic images of the Revolutionary War. Eventually establishing a shop where he sold his silverwork and miscellaneous items while developing his engraving business, Doolittle went on to engrave all manner of ephemera, a multitude of illustrations and maps for books, and numerous individually published prints and maps.

REFERENCES: O’Brien, Donald C. Amos Doolittle : Engraver of the New Republic (New Castle, DE, 2008), p. 61 (pictured), p. 63.

Item #7796

Price: $5,000.00

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