University Archives

Lot 321

Previous image preload Next image preload


Rare Thomas Johnson Rev. War-Dated MDS, Future U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice

1p manuscript document signed by Thomas Johnson (1732-1819), future Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, as "T Johnson J.W." at lower right. Signed "In Council" somewhere in Maryland on July 23, 1781. On a slip of laid paper. Countersigned by both an auditor and the money recipient. Docketed verso. Expected wear including paper folds and light edge darkening. A tiny area of loss at center mentioned just for accuracy. Else near fine. 7.25" x 4.75." Provenance: From the famous Supreme Court collection of Scott Petersen.

Future Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Thomas Johnson directed administrators to extend
£10 of Bills of Credit to Lieutenant William Murdoch. Transcribed in part, with original spelling and punctuation:

"Ordered That the western shore Treasurer pay to Lieut William Murdoch Ten Pounds of the Bills of Credit emitted under the 'Act for the Emission of Bills of Credit not exceeding two hundred thousand Pounds +ca' of the Money appropriated for the Expences of the present Campaign agreeable to a Resolution of this Board of the 22d Inst…"

The Articles of Confederation had finally been ratified by all thirteen states just five months earlier, on March 1, 1781. Maryland was the last state to agree to its terms, due to territorial squabbles with New York and Virginia regarding the vaguely defined limits of the Northwest Territory. The "western shore Treasurer" referred to in this directive must have been acutely aware of this ongoing dispute. After the war, Lieutenant William Murdoch was granted four lots of land west of Fort Cumberland (modern day Cumberland, Maryland) in recognition of his Revolutionary War service.

Thomas Johnson was nominated as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by President George Washington. He served only six months between August 1792 and January 1793, making him the shortest-serving justice in the Court's history. Johnson is also notable as the first justice to submit the Court's written opinion in Georgia v. Brailsford (1792). Johnson was a Maryland delegate to the Continental Congress and the first non-colonial governor of Maryland.

Johnson's signature is the rarest among U.S. Supreme Court justices, according to The Manuscript Society.

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.


Online Payments Accepted

Accepted Forms of Payment

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


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, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

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 5 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 Westport, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping

View full terms and conditions

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