Catalog Archive
Auction 183, Lot 237

Early View, Stock Promotion Letter and Report on Spindletop

"[Lot of 2] [Letterhead - The Ira O. Wyse Beaumont Oil Co.] Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A [and] Oil Fields Of The Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coastal Plain",

Subject: East Texas, Louisiana, Oil

Period: 1902-06 (published)


Color: Printed Color

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A. [Letterhead - The Ira O. Wyse Beaumont Oil Co.] Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A., dated 1902 (8.0 x 3.0"). This letter features a bird’s-eye view of the Spindletop area with The Lucas Gusher (the original well) in the foreground, Beaumont in the background, numerous oil wells and the company’s land holdings identified in green. The letter is dated 1-28-02, one year after the first gusher. The letter with Wyse’s manuscript initials offers stock and notes the company’s seven properties, including “a gusher on block #37 at Spindletop.” The letter informs the reader that while the initial earnings are being used to purchase tank cars, eventually “no company can pay any better dividends than ours.” Unlike many promotions, the company in fact did have a producing well that was identified as well number 129 in a 1903 government report on Spindletop. However, by 1903 the company stopped paying its Texas franchise fee and Wyse died in 1904. On a full sheet of text measuring 8.3 x 10.8". Condition: Light toning with a faint dampstain at top right and a small chip in the blank bottom right corner. (B+)

B. Oil Fields Of The Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coastal Plain, by N.M. Fenneman, published 1906 (5.9 x 9.3"). This 169-page report features four small folding maps of oil fields in the region, including Spindletop, with detailed location of wells and ownership shown in color. The report provided very early and detailed documentation of the first major oil discovery (1901) in the U.S. that “guided America into the golden age of oil. Before Spindletop, oil was used as a lubricant and for burning in oil lamps. The volume of Spindletop oil made it economically feasible to use petroleum in the mass consumption of fuel.” For an article on the importance of Spindletop, click here. Octavo, hardbound in modern black cloth with gilt title on spine. Condition: Contents are near fine with a hint of pleasant light toning. Modern binding is pristine. (A)



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Estimate: $180 - $220

Sold for: $325

Closed on 6/9/2021