Proxy signed by Charles L. Tiffany - AutographInv# AU1379A Autograph
Appointment of lawyers to represent Charles Lewis Tiffany at a stockholders meeting for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company. Signed by C.L. Tiffany. Serious archive repairs.
Charles Lewis Tiffany (February 15, 1812 – February 18, 1902) was an American businessman and jeweller who founded New York City's Tiffany & Co. in 1837. Known for his jewelry expertise, Tiffany created the country's first retail catalog and introduced the English standard of sterling silver in imported jewelry in 1851.
In 1837, with $1,000 borrowed from his father, Tiffany and a school friend, John B. Young, set up a small stationery and gift shop in New York City. Their first three days in business brought them only $4.38 in total sales, but two years later they were still in business, selling glassware, porcelain, cutlery, clocks and jewelry.
The store expanded in 1841 and changed its name to Tiffany, Young and Ellis. It established a reputation for selling only the finest goods and specialized in Bohemian glass and porcelain. It also began manufacturing its own jewelry. In 1848, when the political unrest in Europe caused great depreciation in the price of precious stones, Tiffany invested heavily in diamonds, which were sold at a great profit a few years later.
In 1853, the company was reorganized under the name Tiffany and Company and opened branches in Paris (1850) and London (1868). The store also relocated uptown to a Fifth Avenue location in that decade. At the beginning of the American Civil War, foreseeing that the jewelry business would suffer, he turned most of his capital to the manufacture of swords, medals and similar war material.
The firm acquired and sold some of the French Crown Jewels in 1887, firmly establishing its reputation.
Charles Tiffany died at his home in Manhattan, New York, on February 18, 1902, at age 90. At the time of his death his company was capitalized at more than $2 million and acknowledged as the most prominent jewelry company in North America.
On November 30, 1841, Tiffany married John B. Young's sister, Harriet Olivia Avery Young (1817–1897), with whom he had six children: Charles Lewis Tiffany Jr. (1842–1847), Annie Olivia Tiffany Mitchell (1844–1937; grandmother of Hiram Bingham IV through her daughter Alfreda Mitchell and she, at the same time, is the first wife of Hiram Bingham III, one of the first explorers to Machu Picchu, Peru), Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), Louise Harriet Tiffany (1856–1937), Henry Charles Tiffany (1858–1859) and Burnett Young Tiffany (1860–1945).
Tiffany was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1878.