Benjamin Altman Signed Check to Astor, Worth $700,000 in Today's Money

Benjamin Altman Signed Check to Astor, Worth $700,000 in Today's Money


Benjamin Altman Signed Check, 6.5" x 2.75", drawn on the bank of "Astor Trust Company". Dated "September 28, 1912" and made payable to "Estate of Marshall Field" for "Twenty six thousand, eight hundred and eighty seven 50/100", written additionally as "26, 887.50". Signed by Benjamin Altman in full signature "Benjamin Altman". The value of the check in today's money is about $700,000.00. Cancellation holes not affecting the signature. Fine condition.


This check was written by Altman only about one year before his death. Altman, American merchant, art collector, and philanthropist, established one of the world’s great department stores, B. Altman & Co.


Altman had little formal schooling, but at the age of 25 he opened his first dry-goods store in Manhattan and in 1906 moved it to the uptown section, pioneering the movement of business there. With additions in 1913–14, the store occupied the entire block bounded by Madison and Fifth avenues and 34th and 35th streets. Known for his organizing ability, Altman provided medical service, rest, and other benefits for his employees and set up a foundation for their welfare. The department-store chain Altman founded eventually numbered seven stores in New York and other cities. The chain closed in 1989.


Interestingly, this large check was written to the Estate of Marshall Field, also an American entrepreneur and the founder of Marshall Field and Company, the Chicago-based department stores. His business was renowned for its then-exceptional level of quality and customer service, however Field had died in 1906, nearly 6 years before this check was written. It is unclear as what the Altman funds were used for, however Field was also known for some of his philanthropic donations. However what is known is that the Field's estate was to be held in trust for 40 years for his two grandsons. In 1905, Field's fortune was valued at $125 million. Henry Field (one of the grandsons) died in 1917 and was thus unable to collect his inheritance, leaving the Field fortune in the hands of Marshall Field III.


This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.



Item: 67429

Price: $400.00
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