Franchise, apothecary

A franchise is a legal document issued by a government or a sovereign granting the right to carry out commercial activities. In Germany franchises were granted to individuals for the privilege of purchasing or inheriting an apothecary, or the exclusive rights to sell a medicinal product within a city or town.
This franchise is hand written in gothic script and elaborately decorated. It is twenty-two pages long and has a red wax seal housed in a round carved wooden box. It was issued and signed in Vienna on 20 August 1791, by the German Emperor Leopold II. George Urdang's entry in The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy Catalogue states "In this document, the Emperor confirms an earlier franchise for the production and sale of Trusinger's Healing Plaster, originally granted by Emperor Ferdinand III..."
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
velvet (overall material)
wood (overall material)
wax (overall material)
parchment (overall material)
overall, as stored: 1/8 in x 17 in x 13 7/8 in; .3175 cm x 43.18 cm x 35.2425 cm
franchise: 35.5 cm x 26.2 cm x 2.8 cm; 14 in x 10 5/16 in x 1 1/8 in
case for seal: 3.3 cm x 16.3 cm; 1 5/16 in x 6 7/16 in
object box: 5.5 cm x 49.3 cm x 37 13/16 in; 2 3/16 in x 19 7/16 in x 96.012 cm
ID Number
accession number
collector/donor number
SAP 829
catalog number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
European Apothecary
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Related Publication
Urdang, George and Ferdinand William Nitardy. The Squibb Ancient Pharmacy: A Catalogue of the Collection

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