John Marshall Autograph Letter Signed
Prominent Supreme Court Chief Justice Marshall addresses the fate of mismatched banknotes in important numismatic historical document
The longest-serving Chief Justice in U.S. Supreme Court history, John Marshall played a significant role in the development of the American legal system. Earlier in the year, Marshall had handed down the unanimous decision in Cohens v. Virginia, a landmark case in establishing the power of the Supreme Court to review decisions of state supreme courts in criminal cases upon appeal.
A fascinating letter for historians and numismatists alike.
ALS signed "J. Marshall," one page both sides, 6.25 x 8, November 20, 1821. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Marshall writes on the fate of two mismatched banknotes.
In full: "Two halves of notes of 100$ which you sent me are mismatched in consequence of which the Bank refuses to receive them. The one half is marked letter D No. 459 payable to Edward Fox. The other is marked letter A No. 92 dated the 8th of Feb'y. 1812. Both halves are of the mother Bank of Virginia. The Bank states a decision of the court of appeals that if the holder of the other halves will make affidavit that he was the possessor of these halves and has lost them, he can compel a payment of the whole 200$. They therefore refuse to pay these unless you will make the affidavit required and give an indemnifying bond. If you divided these notes yourself it may possibly be in your power to get the other halves & send them down. The holder of them will be unable to get paid but by acting in consent with you. I shall be much obliged by your giving me the earliest intimation on this subject, that, if you can not command the other halves, I may inquire what is to be done.”
Addressed on the reverse of the second integral page in Marshall’s hand to Walter Fontaine. In very good condition, with intersecting folds, a chip to the upper right corner tip, show through from writing to opposing sides, and a tape-repaired tear to second integral page. Accompanied by an unsigned period engraving of Marshall.