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Did You Know that the John Adams Autograph Can be More Valuable Than a Thomas Jefferson Autograph?

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John Adams Autograph

The John Adams autograph is more popular than the President himself.  In history, John Adams plays second fiddle to Thomas Jefferson, and perhaps rightfully so, but due to the John Adams autograph being rarer than the Thomas Jefferson autograph, his signature can be worth a few thousand dollars more.  These days, a John Adams autograph starts at $3,250 and sells for tens to hundreds of multiples of this if this autograph is on an important letter signed by Adams with historic content.  A common form of a John Adams autograph, the document signed as President will sell for between $6,000 – $8,000.

Below are John Adams autograph items we have sold:

John Adams Reflects Upon the Real Causes of the American Revolution — “…what would be the consequences of an attempt on the part of Great Britain, to carry into…Authority over Us…War and Carnage, and devastation I saw – or thought I saw must be the consequence – and I fully believed that all the horrours of such a Contest would never wholly subdue the old non-conformist Spirit…” — Extraordinary and Moving Letter on the Indefatigable Spirit of the American Colonists

Exceptionally stirring and important letter signed by John Adams almost 50 years after the American Revolution, after which enough time had passed that Adams felt compelled to correct the record about the true causes of the American Revolution. Addressed to Jonathan Mason of Boston, letter is dated 31 August 1820 from “Montezillo”, Adams’ playful comparison to Jefferson’s larger estate at Monticello. In this letter, Adams posits that the fear and hatred of heirarchy, especially in matters of religion by The Church of England, were the wellspring of revolution, rather than simple economic or social issues. In part, “…The real principles, Motives, and feelings which gave rise to the Revolution have been very superficially and imperfectly investigated. For one example among many, The dread of the Hierarchy; and of the high principles in Religion and government; which then prevailed in the Church of England and which were more openly and dogmatically professed and asserted in America than in England itself – Are not sufficiently known, and have not been sufficiently considered. – Indeed it is almost impossible to convince at this day, any young Man; or even any middle aged Man of the extravagance to which those high doctrines were carried before the Revolution…And of the Authority of the Church in matters of Religion – yet these Doctrines, I heard asserted almost every day – The idea that such a Church, and such doctrines and such Hierarchy where [sic] to be established by Act of Parliament appeared to me worse than Death – As I know this to be the feeling and Principle of all the Dissenters in America – I did not believe they would submit to it…I therefore believe as early as I can remember, that this Country would never submit to the Unlimited Authority of Parliament – And this opinion forced me to consider what would be the consequences of an attempt on the part of Great Britain, to carry into execution a Soverign Legislative Authority over Us. – War and Carnage, and devastation I saw – or thought I saw must be the consequence – and I fully believed that all the horrours of such a Contest would never wholly subdue the old non-conformist Spirit…” Signed boldly and clearly “John Adams”. Two page letter with integral franked address leaf measures 8″ x 10″. Minor loss from seal tear on address leaf, else near fine. Housed in a light blue cloth folding case, with the blue morocco spine lettered gilt. Sold for $45,000.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph Letter.

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John Adams ALS as President, Who Didn’t Have a Full-Time Military! — “…an Army and Navy Establishment is essential to the present & future Interests & Greatness of the United States…”

Historically important John Adams autograph letter signed dated 19 July 1799, during his term as the second American President. Adams writes from Quincy, Massachusetts to Secretary of War James McHenry regarding the need for a standing army and navy, warning of embarrassment should the department heads be surprised. After the end of the American Revolution, the U.S., distrustful of standing militaries, sold off the last ship in its Continental navy and disbanded its army. A small navy was reinstated to protect American commerce with the onset of war in Europe in 1793. The U.S. negotiated a treaty with Britain but negotiations with France broke down during the XYZ affair. France, an ally to the American colonies during the American Revolution, now saw the U.S. as a British ally during their own war with England, and began seizing American merchant ships. In 1798, Congress established a Department of the Navy and empowered the merchant marine to defend American ships. A provisional army was also authorized. Peace negotiations with France began in January 1799, while Adams continued to build up the American military, as reflected in this letter. It reads in part, “…I agree with you…that both an Army and Navy Establishment is essential to the present and future Interests & Greatness of the United States and that We must run the Risks which other Nations have run. It appeared to me that Offices were created and Salaries made necessary in the Plan for Supplying the Army, which would require the Interposition of Congress, But if the Powers already given to Administration are Sufficient I am Satisfied…J. Adams”. This letter appears in “The Works of John Adams,” volume 8, 1856. Minor foxing and dampstaining along left edge of single page letter, measuring 8″ x 9.75″. Separation to folds; overall very good. Sold for $27,000.

John Adams Autograph Letter

John Adams Autograph Letter. Click to enlarge.

Please email Nate@NateDSanders.com or call (310) 440-2982 if you have a John Adams autograph for sale. Top dollar obtained for your John Adams autograph.

John Adams Twice-Signed Check — Slabbed by PSA/DNA

John Adams twice-signed check, signed ”John Adams” at lower right and also ”John Adams Welsh” to his namesake, the son of his close friends Thomas and Abigail Welsh. Partially printed check is drawn from the ”Massachusetts Bank” in 1815 for $100, filled out in Adams’ hand, and unusual in that most payments of the time were entirely handwritten, in the form of a promissory note, and not a bank-issued document such as this. Check measures 4.75” x 2”, irregularly trimmed along edges. Two file holes, not affecting signatures; overall in very good plus condition. Slabbed by PSA/DNA. A rare check signed by the second President. Sold for $24,361.

John Adams Autograph Letter

John Adams Autograph Letter. Click to enlarge.

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John Adams Document Signed 1772

John Adams signed document datelined “County of Suffolk, the last Tuesday of August A.D. 1772.” Signed “John Adams” at close in bold black ink. An unusual document highlighting a future President’s successful career at the bar, and linking him to Benjamin Franklin. In July 1771 Franklin won a judgment in the “Inferring Court of Common Pleas” against “Samuel Hall for one hundred & seventy-seven pounds and sixteen shillings, Lawful Money of Great Britain Debt and costs of suit; from which Judgment [Hall] appealed to his Honourable Court, and recognized to prosecute the same, but failed to do so: Wherefore the Complainant prays Affirmation of the said Judgment with additional interest & costs.” The extra costs consisted of seven shillings in attorneys fees and four shillings sixpence for three days of attendance at Court. Adams set up his legal practice in Boston in 1768, and by 1772 it was thriving, thanks in no small part to his role in several high profile cases. He defended John Hancock on smuggling charges in 1768 and in 1770 won acquittal for Captain Thomas Preston and six other British soldiers accused of perpetrating the Boston Massacre. Here, Adams evidently performed some legal work for still another leading colonial name, Benjamin Franklin. Document measures 5.75″ x 7.25″. Overall toning and usual letter folds, else excellent condition. Sold for $13,002.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

John Adams Document Signed as President in 1801 & Countersigned by John Marshall — Adams Grants Land to Two Revolutionary War Soldiers With a Large, Bold Signature

John Adams land grant signed as President on 19 January 1801, countersigned by Secretary of State and future Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall. Signed prominently ”John Adams”, document grants land to two soldiers for their service in the Revolutionary War. Partially printed document measures 13” x 15”, framed to 34.25” x 33”. Weighs 20 lbs. Folds and some creasing, otherwise near fine condition. Sold for $10,525.

John Adams Autograph Letter

John Adams Autograph Letter. Click to enlarge.

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John Adams Autograph Letter Signed on the Stamp Act — Adams Gives Documents and “broken hints” to Jedidiah Morse for “Annals of the American Revolution”, on Events “Five and Forty years ago”

John Adams autograph letter signed “John Adams”, regarding the Stamp Act Congress, the colonists’ response to the infamous Stamp Act of 1765. This Act was one of the first legislative measures passed by Great Britain that taxed the colonists, an act which set in motion events leading to the Revolutionary War 10 years later. Adams writes to Jedidiah Morse regarding Morse’s work, “Annals Of The American Revolution”, an important record of the Revolution published in 1824, and refers to his role in the Revolution, “Five and Forty years ago”. From his home in Quincy, Massachusetts on 11 September 1815, Adams writes, “For some time past I have been unable to read or write or see, so that it has been impossible for me to answer your Expectations as I wished. And now it costs me more pain and time to write a line than it did but seven years ago to write a page. You will find me but a miserable resource for information or advice in your great Undertaking. I can give you nothing but broken hints. At present I send you a few documents from the oldest States man in America Governor Mackean, Four Letters Aug. 20. Oct. 9. Nov. 15, 1813 Jan. 1814. Also a Pamphet [sic] ‘Authentic account of the Proceedings of The Congress held at New York. A.D. 1765 on the Subject of the American Stamp Act.’ Instead of Specimens or hints of the manner in which I should try History if I could, I send you a Specimen of the manner in which I did write, history, poorly enough indeed, Five and Forty years ago. These Letters and Pamphlets I rely upon your Friendship to return to me by the Mail, after you have noted what may appear to your Purpose. When these shall be returned if my inflamed Eyes and quivering fingers will permit, I may give you a few hints but probably of no great importance…John Adams”. Single page letter measures 8″ x 9.75″. With integral address leaf written in another hand. Light soiling and small paper loss from seal, otherwise near fine condition given age. Accompanied by an engraving of Adams for framing, and housed in attractive custom clamshell case lettered in gilt on the front. Sold for $10,200.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph Letter. Click to enlarge.

Incredible in its Existence Today, John Adams Writes in his Own Hand Receiving One States Tally (Vermont) of the Election Results Making George Washington President in 1793

Scarce and historically significant autograph note signed “John Adams, President of the Senate of the United States,” one page, 8″ x 10″, January 1, 1793. An acknowledgment of an important packet from Lot Hall, Presidential Elector for Vermont in 1792. In full: “Rec’d of Lot Hall Esqr. a Packet certified by the Electors of Vermont to contain a List of their Votes for President and Vice President of the United States.” In very good to fine condition, the letter has been professionally silked, with a horizontal fold through “United States” in Adams’ signature, small ink spot to top right, mild toning along left edge from old mounting residue on reverse, and some scattered light toning to body of text. During his first term as vice president, Adams alienated many Jeffersonians who sought to replace him with Founding Father George Clinton of New York. Although the political parties of the day knew that George Washington, who had originally wanted to retire after one term in office but agreed to seek re-election to quell the rise of partisanship, was virtually unbeatable, they felt that his vice president was vulnerable. Following the December 5, 1792, election, votes for president and vice president (then cast independently of each other)…including these from Vermont…were collected and forwarded to the embattled Adams, in his capacity as Senate president, for counting. Adams was probably unaware that the sealed envelope containing the electoral votes were unanimous in supporting his own re-election. In February, 1793, the electoral vote was tabulated by Congress, with George Washington received a vote on every elector’s ballot, giving him 132 votes and his second unanimous presidential election. Adams received 77 votes, including all Vermont’s ballots, while his opponent Clinton collected 50 votes. An historically important remarkable official acknowledgment that Adams had received the ballots from the state of Vermont that made George Washington President. PSA/DNA COA. Sold for $9,768.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

Consign your John Adams autograph that is for sale. Contact nate@natedsanders.com to sell your John Adams autograph.

John Adams 1800 Land Grant Signed as President With Bold Signature — Awarding Revolutionary War General William Woodford 2,500 Acres in Ohio

John Adams land grant signed as President, dated 22 May 1800, awarding Brigadier General William Woodford 2,500 acres in Ohio between the ”Little Miami and Sciota Rivers”. Land was awarded to General Woodford for his military service in the Revolutionary War; General Woodford served with George Washington in the French and Indian War and was promoted to General in 1777 before being wounded at the Battle of Brandywine. In 1779 he was captured in the Battle of Charleston and, in 1780, died aboard a British prison ship. Woodford Counties in Kentucky and Illinois are named in his honor. Document is countersigned by Charles Lee as ”executing the office” of Secretary of State, and also by Secretary of War James McHenry upon the verso. Original blindstamped seal is intact. Grant measures 13” x 15”. Expected light wear to vellum, and a small triangular portion of paper loss to lower left. Overall in very good plus condition with an exceptionally bold signature by Adams. Sold for $8,319.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

Elegantly Framed John Adams Land Grant Signed as President

President John Adams signed land grant, dated 8 July 1799, with a bold, clear ”John Adams” signature in black ink to verso of 2pp. document. Countersigned by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, grant gives more than a dozen Revolutionary War veterans ”titles to certain lands lying Northwest of the River Ohio, between the Little Miami and Sciota.” With extensive handwritten notes detailing the exact partitions of the property. Document on 2pp., front and verso, measures 18” x 20.5” and is nicely and cleverly framed twice; the smaller frame housing the document measures 23.25” x 26” and opens on a hinge, so that both sides of the document can be viewed. This frame is then attached to a larger frame measuring 41.5” x 36”. The back of the document displays very bold signatures of both President John Adams and Secretary of State Timothy Pickering. Original blindstamped seal intact. Creasing and separation to fold intersections with two small stains in the lowermost third of the document, else near fine. Some bumping to frame corners and edges, else frames are near fine. Sold for $8,098.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

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President John Adams Signed 4-Language Ship’s Papers From 1797

As President, John Adams signs his full name in black ink to a ship’s passport concerning Jonathan Hodges, commander of the ship ”Hazen”, on 8 June 1797. Document is co-signed by Timothy Pickering, Secretary of State, and retains its paper seal of the United States at middle left. Printed in 4 languages: French, Spanish, English and Dutch, respectively. Document measures 19.5” x 15.5”, framed to 26” x 21.75”. Light toning, archivally repaired at intersecting folds, overall in very good plus condition. Sold for $7,563.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

John Adams Document Signed as President

John Adams document signed as President, on 10 January 1798. Vellum document grants land ”northwest of the river Ohio and above the mouth of Kentucky river”, which comprises the present-day states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Countersigned by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, and with paper seal at lower left intact. Document measures 13.75” x 11.5”. Overall in very good condition with folds and better than expected condition of vellum. Adams’ signature is large and bold. Sold for $7,500.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

Consign your John Adams autograph that is for sale. Contact nate@natedsanders.com to sell your John Adams autograph.

John Adams 4-Language Ship’s Papers Signed as President — With French Certification Attached to Document, Dated Less Than One Month Before the French-American Naval “Quasi-War” Erupted

John Adams 4-language ship’s papers signed as President, datelined Washington, 13 June 1798. Adams empowers the sloop “Betsey” to navigate international waters with this document, countersigned by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering. Interestingly, attached to the document by silk thread is French certification just weeks before the unofficial naval war broke out between the United States and France, deemed the “Quasi-War”. In early 1797, Pickering told Congress that France had seized 316 U.S. merchant ships during the previous 11 months, leading up to the naval war that lasted from 1798-1800. Document measures 19″ x 15.5″ with two paper seals intact, and beautifully framed with a portrait of Adams to a size of 34.5″ x 23″. Archival repair to folds on verso, overall in very good plus condition with a prominent signature by Adams. Sold for $7,500.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

John Adams Military Appointment Signed as President — 17 April 1799

John Adams appointment signed as President, dated 17 April 1799. Here, Adams appoints Samuel Harrison as First Lieutenant. Document reads in part, “…I have nominated and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate do appoint him as first Lieutenant in the thirteenth Regiment of Infantry in the service of the United States: to take rank as such…” Nice, clear “John Adams” signature at conclusion. Also signed by the Secretary of War, James McHenry. Document is beautifully preserved in a gilt frame with a cream colored mat measuring 38.35″ x 27″. The document, which has creasing and folds throughout, measures 16″ x 10.25″. Overall in very good condition with original U.S. blindstamped seal intact. Also includes portrait engraving and placard of the second President of the United States. Sold for $7,032.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

Consign your John Adams autograph that is for sale. Contact nate@natedsanders.com to sell your John Adams autograph.

John Adams Land Grant Signed as President

President John Adams signed land grant dated 12 April 1800. Filled out in beautiful cursive, grant gives 800 acres to William Crawford as payment for his military service. Signed in large bold letters at conclusion, “John Adams” and countersigned by Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, and upon the verso, Secretary of War James McHenry. Unfortunately, a portion of the document has been mouse-eaten resulting in a sizeable hole approximately two-thirds down and a semi-circle hole at the upper center. There are also several folds, one affecting the very top portion of Adams’ signature. Other than these obvious defects, the document is in exceptional condition with a fine, intact U.S. blindstamped seal. On vellum paper measuring 13″ x 15″. Sold for $7,032.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

John Adams Document Signed as President — Military Appointment of Midshipman

John Adams signs a military appointment, dated 15 May 1799. The President appoints Benjamin Conant of Massachusetts ”a Midshipman in the Navy of the United States. He is therefore carefully and diligently to discharge the duty of a midshipman, by doing and performing all manner of Things thereunto belonging.” It is signed, ”John Adams”. Secretary of the Navy Benjamin Stoddert countersigns. In the Quasi-War with France starting in 1798, Adams rebuilt the U.S. Navy, adding both ships and men. Conant served in the Navy until he was discharged on 30 April 1801 under the Peace Establishment Act. Light toning and soiling with minor creasing and chipping. Overall in very good condition. Sold for $6,691.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

John Adams Four-Language Ship’s Papers Signed as President — From The Privateer-Raided Schooner ”Nancy” at the Height of French-American Tensions

Fascinating John Adams document signed as President. Document dated 10 August 1798 concerns the schooner ”Nancy” during the time of the ”XYZ Affair,” a period of tension that brought the U.S. and France to the brink of war, during which time United States merchant ships came under threat from French privateers. Partially-printed document reads in part, ”…sailing under the auspices of the United States of America…no subjects of present belligerent powers [France and Britain] have any part or portion [of the ship or its cargo] therein…” Cargo is listed as, ”…food, including beef, pork, shad, butter, oil, cheese, flour, crackers, onions, and apples…” The schooner ”Nancy” was listed as having filed an insurance claim, as cited in Greg H. Williams’ book, ”The French Assault on American Shipping, 1793-1813, A History and Comprehensive Record of Merchant Marine Losses”, published by McFarland & Company, Inc.: North Carolina: 2009. Vellum document measures 19.25” x 15.25” with an exceptionally large signature by John Adams. Countersigned by Timothy Pickering as Secretary of State. Framed to a size of 33.5” x 24”. Folds and a few small tears at edges. Overall near fine. Sold for $6,691.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

Consign your John Adams autograph that is for sale. Contact nate@natedsanders.com to sell your John Adams autograph.

Early John Adams Autograph Note Twice-Signed — Datelined Plymouth, 1767

Rare, early autograph note twice-signed by patriot John Adams who writes, “Rec’d the contents of this note principal & interest by the hand of Josiah Sturtevant [?] at Plymouth Dec. 1767 / J. Adams”. Note is written on a 6.25″ x 3.5″ sheet with calculations to the margins, not affecting Adams’ writing. On verso is the original obligation made by Lemuel Sturtevant who promises to repay John Adams three pounds and six shillings with interest. Obligation is written by John Adams in the third person, thus note is twice-signed. The only portion of note not in Adam’s hand is Lemuel Sturtevant’s signature. Exceptionally bold handwriting by Adams, clearly and largely written. Some uniform toning to note and light creasing, else near fine. Sold for $5,012.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

Consign your John Adams autograph that is for sale. Contact nate@natedsanders.com to sell your John Adams autograph.

John Adams Signed Document 1774

John Adams document signed with more than 200 words in his own hand. Partly printed legal document dated 5 April 1774 and signed “Adams” to verso. Fascinating pre-Revolutionary war legal document regarding a Boston Presbyterian Church reads in part, “…George the Third, by the Grace of God, of Great-Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c To the Sheriff of Our County of Suffolk…We Command you to Attach Goods or Estate…to the Value of one hundred Pounds…” Document measures approximately 7.5″ x 12.5″. Toning, pinholes and two edge tears to folds, else excellent condition. Sold for $1,463.

John Adams Autograph

John Adams Autograph. Click to enlarge.

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