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Rare Supreme Court signature along with Martha Washington's brother
Blair, John and Bartholomew Daindridge

John Blair - Supreme Court Justice. Signed colonial "Money of Virginia" currency, March 4, 1773. The three pound note measures 6.5 x 5 and is also signed by Bartholomew Dandridge, younger brother of Martha Washington and on the back by the colonial Treasurer Robert Carter Nicholas. In fine condition with some edge chips but one of the fresher looking examples to survive. [The March 10, 2020 Heritage Auctions sale of a similar example noted that only 500 three pound notes from the 1773 Ashby series were printed.]

These are also known by currency collectors as Ashby Notes, after the London printing house that produced them. Counterfeiting of earlier notes and currency prompted The Virginia assembly in March 1773 to replace them with new notes. These were promises by the Assembly that the notes could be redeemed later for silver coin. As part of that pledge and further sign of authenticity each note was personally signed by the State Treasurer and two members of the Assembly. To also reduce counterfeiting the notes were printed on paper with elaborate engravings and a printed warning "Death to Counterfeit"

Blair was one of the six Justices appointed by Washington to the first Supreme Court, six being the initial number set by Congress. His autograph is one of the rarest of Supreme Court Justices. The most available source are these Virginia notes. Most of those are signed along with Peyton Randolph, the first president of the Continental Congress. This example is a less common example having been signed by Dandridge and makes for nice association between one of the first Justices and the brother-in-law of the man who appointed him. [#5663]