A Scarce John Hancock Signed Military Appointment, 1790
PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity
Is there a more iconic signature in American lore? John Hancock's endorsement of the Declaration of Independence is so important that it has become an informal synonym in our lexicon. "Let me have your John Hancock" is our familiar way of asking for another's autograph on something, legal or otherwise.
The origin of this eponym, of course, stems from this Massachusetts Statesman's large autograph on the Declaration of Independence in 1776 as President of the Continental Congress. That signature was by far the largest of all other signers' endorsements on that document declaring our independence from the British Empire.
The common story surrounding Hancock's overzealous mark is an apocryphal one. As the now accepted version goes, Hancock as President of the newly formed "congress" of the colonies wanted to make certain that King George III of England saw his signature on the document; the king was known to be nearsighted. However as most biographers have pointed out, Hancock always used that very same large and flamboyant style when signing items. He was an aristocrat known to flaunt his stature, and was perhaps the wealthiest individual in the colonies.
John Hancock (1737-1793) also served several terms as Governor of Massachusetts. In that capacity he signed this official document in 1790, appointing a "Captain of a company in the Second Reg(iment) first Brigade and Fifth Regiment of the militia of this Commonwealth". In the left hand column he has artfully placed that famous autograph. It is an exceptionally beautiful, dark example indeed, and the reason we made certain to purchase this piece of history. We believe an advanced autograph collection must begin with a John Hancock endorsement. It sets the tone for the collection.
This appointment is countersigned by the Massachusetts Secretary, John Avery, and the state seal is fully intact: something we rarely encounter as seals are generally the first item affected by attrition on an older document. The overall condition is excellent, evidencing just slight toning, clear printing and legible hand writing; a 1/4 inch separation on the right side is mentioned strictly for accuracy and certainly does not affect the overall quality and importance of the appointment. In sum, the document is significantly nicer than the vast majority we've seen and certainly fits into our strict standards of quality. (Document measures 15 x 13 inches)
Hancock was quite young when he passed away, age 56. He remains one of the most important figures in American history. Along with Washington, Franklin, Jefferson (and Lincoln) we try to have these important staples in our inventory.
Professionally double-matted and framed with archival mylar and ultraviolet-protected plexiglass. We used a stately gold, antique-style frame and inserted a nineteenth century steel engraving of this important person, along with a brass plaque. Overall framed dimensions are 29x19 inches - the result is one impressive historical American document. In terms of autograph collecting, John Hancock's certainly stands out and makes a statement. This one is guaranteed to impress all who see it, so hang it proudly on your wall!
Comes with the all-important letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA