1929 Depression-Era Small Business Sale Agreement for French Chairmaking Business

1929 Depression-Era Small Business Sale Agreement for French Chairmaking Business

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On offer is a complete bill of sale of a small family chairmaking business after the death of the proprietor in France at the very beginning of the Great Depression. The business’ owner, Leon Viaud, had passed away and his widow, Marie Rey and her son Paul Viaud, were selling the business to a Monsieur Joachim Chaulet, a carpenter.

An excerpt of the bill of sale follows:

ENTRE: Madame Marie Rey, veuve de Monsieur Leon Viaud et Monsieur Paul Viaud tous deux chaisiers demeurant et domicilles ensemble a Libourne rue de la marne, numero 57 d'une part…ET Monsieur Joachim Chaulet, menuisier, demeurant et domicilie a Catusseau commune de POMEROL d'autre part...

[Between: Mrs. Marie Rey, widow of Mr. Leon Viaud and Mr. Paul Viaud both chairmakers living and domiciled together in Libourne rue de la marne, number 57 on the one hand AND Mr. Joachim Chaulet, carpenter, residing and domiciled in Catusseau commune de POMEROL on the other hand…]

The contract begins with a description of what is included:

a ete dit convenu ce qui suit: Madame veuve Viaud et fils vendent avec toutes les garanties de droit a Monsieur CHAULET qui accepte un FONDS DE COMMERCE de fabricant de sieges qu'ils exploitant a LIBOURNE rue de la Marne numero 37 comprenant materiel, achalandage, clientele et marechandises ci-apres designe

[Translation: {it} has been agreed as follows: The widow Mrs.Viaud and son sell with all the legal guarantees to Mr. Chaulet who accepts a manufacturing business of seats that they operate in Libourne rue de la Marne number 37 including equipment, goodwill, customers and goods below designated]

This follows with a declaration that Madame veuve Viaud  has inherited the business from her deceased husband. The contract lists a number of items owned by the business such as wood, paper, varnish, etc along with quantities and valuation.Finally, an overall sales prices is arrived upon. The price is 5,000 French Francs. For comparison purposes, that would represent approximately US$200.00 at the time or about US$3,000 in 2020.The 3rd page has affixed a stamp, likely a tax stamp. The contract has written affirmations for each of the parties as well as signatures. 

Our informal research has not found any biographical information about the parties mentioned in this contract.

For a historian, this is an excellent example of the type of business contract that would be in use in mid-19th century France. The listing of included materials can serve as a good indicator of the market value of these materials at the time.

This four-page document measures 10.0 inches by 7.0 inches. The contract takes up three of the four pages. The reverse of the fourth  page has a few brief notes jotted down on it. The pages are in good condition. They are secured by a seal on the upper left corner, The pages are in good condition. The document is typed.

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