Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Hancock Document Signed during the Revolutionary War as the first governor of Massachusetts. One page, 7" x 12", Boston, June 1, 1782, with Hancock's large, bold iconic signature. In this document, Secretary John Avery has signed and attested that "Jotham Gay be permitted to take Passage on board the Cartel now in the Harbor of Boston bound to Halifax for the purpose of returning to his Friends & said Gay be directed not to carry any Letters or Papers without the Inspection of some person that his Excellency the Governor shall be pleased to Appoint. True Copy." Gay, from Nova Scotia, had earlier "obtained leave to tarry in this Commonwealth by an Order from the Governor & Council August 8th 1781 till further Orders & hath now asked Liberty to return." The lower portion of the document reads in part, "Ordered that Jotham Gay be and hereby is permitted to take Passage on Board the Cartel now in the Harbour of Boston bound to Halifax pursuant to the above advice of Council. [Signed] John Hancock."

    Hancock signed this letter in the second year of his first gubernatorial term and three years after the end of his Continental Congress presidency. While serving as the captain of a Massachusetts company during the French and Indian War, Jotham Gay was involved in a British invasion of Nova Scotia. He settled there and later served as a member of the Nova Scotian House of Assembly during the 1770s. This document is on toned paper with sturdy folds and thin mounting remnants along the edge on verso; fine condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,025

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Jun 9, 2010 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 October 9 Americana & Political Signature Auction Featuring the Michael Ward Collection - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The department director has the heart of a true and highly knowledgeable collector with the business acumen of someone who has been not only successful but has decades of an impeccable track record
    David Greenburg,
    Chicago, IL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search