Lot 225

Previous image preload Next image preload


John Hancock to Valley Forge Veteran, Northwest Territory, Outstanding

HANCOCK, John. Autograph Letter Signed, "John Hancock", as Governor of Massachusetts, 1p, 8" x 10" (visible), Boston, September 28, 1788. Noted at top, "(Volume 1) / (No. 106)". Beautifully matted with a plaque bearing the letter's transcription and a printed image of Hancock with quill pen in hand, framed to an overall size of 30" x 20". Not examined out of frame. Letter has expected mailing folds, else in fine condition. Frame has a bit of chipping and some retouching of paint at upper left, else it is also in fine condition. 

Hancock's attractively penned letter to Major Winthrop Sargent, in full, "I take the liberty to recommend to your notice Mr. William Balch, a son of Mr. Nathaniel Balch of this town, a friend of mine, and a gentleman that I have a very great esteem for. He is about to take up his residence & settlement at Muskingum, & I trust that his abilities & integrity will be acceptable to you & beneficial to your new settlement & any advice or assistance you may afford him will be gratefully acknowledged & shall be happy to return your friendship to any Gentleman you may recommend to me."

John Hancock (1737-1793) was a wealthy Boston merchant who risked his life and fortune to support the American Revolution. As President of the Second Continental Congress, Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. His large signature with famous flourish became so well-known that "John Hancock" or "Hancock" has become a nickname for one's signature. Hancock served nine one-year terms as Governor of Massachusetts between 1780 and 1793. In 1788, he presided over the Commonwealth's convention called to ratify the United States Constitution. Undecided whether to support the document, Hancock at first pronounced himself too ill to attend. Persuaded by Federalists that he might become Vice President, or even President if Washington declined the office, Hancock became a strong supporter of ratification. His support proved crucial.

On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth of the required nine states to approve the Constitution, by the narrow vote of 187-168. In its declaration of acceptance, Massachusetts became the first state to recommend a series of amendments which would become our Bill of Rights. That same year, the first town in the newly opened Northwest Territory of the U.S. was established as Marietta, at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers, in what is now Ohio. By the end of 1788, the Muskingum settlement had 137 residents.

Winthrop Sargent (1753-1820) was a United States patriot, politician, and writer. A member of the Federalist party who had wintered with General George Washington at Valley Forge, he fought in Washington's early battles. Sargent was brevetted major in August 1783 and was discharged from the Continental Army later that year. He was Acting Governor for a time, and would later become the first Governor of the Mississippi Territory, from 1798-1800. 

William Balch (1765-1791), the subject of Hancock's letter, was a junior officer in the Revolutionary War who was killed at the Battle of the Wabash in November 1791. Also known as Saint Clair’s Defeat, the battle was one of the worst defeats ever suffered by U.S. forces in Indian warfare.

Nathaniel Balch (1735-1808) was a hatter who was well known in post-Revolutionary Boston for his friendship with Hancock. A noted wit, he was a frequent guest at the Governor's table, and was sometimes called "the Governor's Jester." 

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Accepted Forms of Payment:

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


Unless otherwise indicated, we do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice. If any changes to the shipping address need to be made, you must inform us immediately.***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 10 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Wilton, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

University Archives

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000