To Naylor & Co., 10 January 1887


90. Gloucester Place
London. W
10th January 1887

Dear sirs,
In case of accidents
by mail, I write to
say that my signed
receipt to the Manhattan
/Insurance/ Company was sent to
you by registered letter
post on Saturday last.

Faithfully yrs
Wilkie Collins





The letter is impressed with the stamp of Harold E Harris, Notary Public...

...and sits opposite a 'Certificate of Genuineness'.

The letter is clearly genuine despite this meaningless paraphernalia.



The letter has been trimmed and has an impressed stamp bottom left. It is tipped in to a copy of Word Shadows of the Great: The Lure of Autograph Collecting by Thomas F. Madigan, New York 1930. Facing the letter is a notarised certificate of authenticity signed by Madigan and a notary. Despite this it is genuine! The book is No.25 of a limited edition of 150. There is one other mention of Wilkie on p217 "The same may be said [that they are not rare] of Ainsworth, Reade, Wilkie Collins and other minor celebrities of that prolific day in English letters. Collectors for years to come will probably never suffer for want of them."

The letter is almost certainly to Messrs Naylor who dealt with Wilkie's life insurance policies in Boston.

Collins took out this life insurance policy on his trip to the USA in Boston in 1874. The policy no. 37019 was for $5000 (1000) and the $227 premium was due on 6 February each year. This and another policy are documented in his letter to William Tindell, 3 March 1874 (Baker and Clarke Letters II 381).

See also to Schlesinger 25-26 January 1888 (Public Face IV 294-295). This letter is the only indication that Wilkie's New York insurers were the Manhattan Insurance Company.

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