This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The requisites of a valid execution of a contract which by law must be in writing are in some respects like those of ordinary written contracts and in some respects quite different. A contract which is required by law to be in writing, such as a negotiable instrument, must be signed by the promisor.1 Ex-
1A negotiable instrument is one "which runs to order or bearer, is payable in money, for a certain, definite sum, on demand, at sight, or in a certain time, or upon the happening of an event which must occur, and payable absolutely and not on a contingency." Hatch v. Bank, 94 Me. 348; 80 Am. St. Rep. 401; 47 Atl. 908. (Citing Roads v. Webb, 91 Me. 406, 410; 64 Am. St. Rep. 246; 40 Atl. 128); Sivils v. Taylor, 12 Okla. 47; 69 Pac. 867.
2 Reed v. Roark, 14 Tex. 329; 65 Am. Dec. 127.
3 Accordingly, in such contracts extrinsic evidence is inadmissible which would be admissible under ordinary contracts in writing. See Sec. 1197.
4 See Sec. 761, 1197. Other branches of this subject are best considered in connection with the parol evidence rule.
5 Pearson v. Bank, 1 Pet. (U. S.) 89; Meyer v. Hibsher, 47 N. Y. 265.
6 Boykin v. Bank, 72 Ala. 262. 1May v. Miller, 27 Ala. 515; Tevis v. Young, 1 Met. (Ky.) 197; 71 Am. Dec. 474; Lewis v. Bank, 1 trinsic evidence is inadmissible to show the assent to an instru ment of this character of a party who has not signed his name thereto.2 No special form of signature is required, however. On this point the law of the negotiable contract seems to be the same as that of the ordinary written contract.3 It seems that a signature by mark,4 or by initials,5 or by printed signature in fac-simile,6 are each sufficient if intended as signatures. Delivery is essential to the validity of a negotiable instrument,7 If taken from the custody of the maker, without his assent, it has no validity even in the hands of a bona fide holder in the absence of negligence on the part of the maker or circumstances creating an estoppel.8 Delivery does not, however, require physical transfer to the payee. Leaving a note with the father of the payee is a sufficient delivery.9