GOETHE, Johann Wolfgang von (1749-1832). German poet.
Document Signed, 1 page small folio, the text printed in gothic type, with red wax seal (traces of mounting or framing at edges), no date [ca 1783]. A (blank) share certificate, number 324, for the Ilmenau copper and silver mine, signed also by Christian Gottlab Voigt, and J.C.W. Voigt, the overseer of the mine. With a full translation.
In 1777 Goethe, who had some legal experience, agreed to serve on a small committee to clear the way for the re-opening of the old silver mines at Ilmenau. In effect he became the chief negotiator, and it was on his birthday in 1783 that 1000 shares of 20 dollars each were issued in the mining company. Work began on a new shaft the following February, but the undertaking was beset by problems, including a disatrous flood in 1796, although a shaft was kept open until the mine finally closed in 1812.
'Goethe cannot be blamed for the original decision to revive the mine, but the tenacity with which a mistaken policy was pursued for over thirty years bears all the marks of his personal direction.' [Goethe: the Poet and the Age, by Nicholas Boyle].
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