Supreme Court Justices’ Autographs
JMS1223 Posts: 988 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited August 25, 2022 7:29AM in Autographs Forum
I know we have the Ruth Bader Ginsburg thread but thought it would be nice to have a thread for all autographs related to the Supreme Court Justices, past and present.
Post pictures of autographs you have from the Supreme Court. They can ones you purchased or got through the mail. We can also use this thread for any stories we may have about visiting the Supreme Court or meeting Supreme Court Justices or other related experiences.
I'll dig up pictures another time, but the earliest ones I got TTM were from William Brennan, Harry Blackmun. and William Rehnquist.
Then later I got a few of the usual suspects, but not the somewhat more recent ones like Alito.
I am confident that Sotomayor is obtainable if you are patient. Same for Thomas. As far as I know the rest are pretty tough or nearly impossible to get.
Wow! That’s very sad. I guess the Supreme Court Justices just got too flooded with mail since 2006 when most signed.
I should add that I've also gotten letters from Elena Kagan. and retired justice David Souter.
I got a letter from Gorsuch recently but it was an autopen.
When you have a chance I would love to see those as well as the RBG autograph(s) you mentioned (in the RBG thread) you got ttm years ago.
I hope you are okay with me quoting from the RBG thread:
Love that engraving. What a great item to get signed. I hope you come across more Supreme Court autographs in your collection and post them here. I love seeing them.
Yes, that Gorsuch was a great reply, since I think he got much tougher to get once he settled in. I think I got a couple replies to letters congratulating him when he first took his seat on the court, but after that I have gotten nothing.
I was browsing eBay and saw one of his letters from right before he took his seat on the Supreme Court. Looks like he was good at signing ttm between his nomination and for the very beginning of his term on the Supreme Court. He must have got flooded with mail after that which caused the abrupt stop to his signing authentically ttm. As you mentioned you got an autopen letter from him recently. Very interesting.
This is NOT mine but it’s the first time I have ever seen ANY example of something from the newest Supreme Court Justice, Amy Coney Barrett. Interestingly this was written and signed on the very day Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. It sold for $1750! That just goes to show how extremely rare her signature is.
Wow! A rarity for sure, and great content. Someone thought to pose a question that would elicit a response. For it to bring that much for a pre-SC note shows how rare her signature is.
I just purchased this Thurgood Marshall autograph.
A nice one.
Did you get it on ebay?
Yes, but I researched everything to make sure it was good. The seller happened to meet Thurgood Marshall about 40 years ago and he signed this for him in person in Chambers. The seller was not an autograph collector going by the fact he was selling various other items and this being the only autograph. I think the starting bid made people not “watch” the item as it was starting at almost the same price the index card signatures sold for, so most probably were like “that’s all the money it’s worth, no bargain here.”
It was certainly worth it for a solid SC card with no doubts about provenance!
Has ANYONE received ANY sort of response from Sonia Sotomayor since 2020? If yes, please share and post a picture of response if possible.
All the signed letters I have seen for sale on eBay date no later than 2015/2016. But perhaps she sent autopen or preprint after that then stopped completely or did she just slow down then seem to stop?
I am NOT including book signings. I heard she has a book upcoming so I plan to buy that and hope they are authentically signed (they have been in the past) — yes, I have seen and heard of autographed books sold through bookstores be autopen or ghost signed.
I am pretty sure my latest reply from SS was before 2020. But I did get one later than 2016.
I never heard of her using an autopen but I am not certain that she never did.
So I can assume the one you received after 2016 was probably authentic?
If that is the case perhaps she just slowed down or quit signing ttm rather than providing fakes in between.
Yes. Real for sure. I've never doubted anything of hers I got from the SC.
Something occurred to me today.
These days many celebrities and notable people either limit their responses or don't sign at all due to ebay, etc.
This means that many people, including SC justices, are scarcer than they used to be, and more attention is paid to the content of their letters, for example.
In previous times it was people like presidents who were hard to obtain and whose letter content was closely scrutinized. Now, I feel that SC justices (at least modern ones) are approaching that same status.
The result of all this is that what material does come to market can sell for solid money. Older SC justices sometimes sell for less than ones still on the court.
The great irony is that policies against sending out autographs only drive up the value of the few autographs and letters that inevitably still get signed/written.
Very true. One recent one I noticed was a very rare Amy Coney Barrett handwritten signed letter sell for nearly $2000 on eBay. It was pre-Supreme Court but because she doesn’t sign at all ttm is likely why this brought as much as it did. If she signed as ttm as a Supreme Court Justice, the value would had been a lot less, but still some value due to content and nature of the letter, but probably closer to $100.
I have seen older Supreme Court Justice autographs on eBay sell for under $20 routinely so that is VERY TRUE that current ones not signing creates a bigger demand/value for them.
Also RBG quit signing ttm around 2011 or so, right after my big sell off (thus why my lot of 5 SCJ autographs including RBG only sold for $10) she started bringing more and more. When she got more famous due to the Notorious RBG in 2013 her autograph was going for around $1000. It has been there ever since.
Was just browsing eBay and noticed Sonia Sotomayor autographs bringing $100 for signed photos and $200 for signed letters.
The signed books are much cheaper for some reason - under $25 in some cases. Strange. I like how the children’s books tend to be signed on a nice clean white page with bold black signature. Also children’s books take much a lot less space. The autobiography on the other hand is signed in regular pen on the title page so doesn’t stand out as much. I can see the desirability reflected in the prices - the autobiography goes for under $25 in most cases while the children’s books bring over $30 or more routinely. Hmm
That is actually good news to me.
A few decades ago when sports memorabilia became popular there were a lot of new collectors and most preferred generic, uninscribed items. Things like letters were often less favorable than photos with just a signature.
I am glad that historic letters and things like good content are back in style.
And this is also a good reminder that tomorrows "rarities" are often easy to get today. So, careful thought and preparation (and sometimes dumb luck) can sometimes pay off in the future.
In regard to the SC, it might be necessary to write to potential nominees before they are even nominated.
This Sandra Day O’Connor signed letter sold for $256 on eBay yesterday. Seems kind of steep to me considering her autograph usually brings about $60. I understand the letter is interesting so perhaps that is why it went for over $250. In comparison Eleanor Roosevelt letters sold for $76 (dated 1957) and $138 (dated 1956) - a LOT less and she was a very famous First Lady. O’Connor is still alive and a former Supreme Court Justice, BUT she was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court so not sure who is considered more historical.
I saw that auction. I almost thought about bidding (when the price was much lower) but it looks like someone "ink tested" the end of the signature. I hate when people do that.
I have my share of SDO'C, on SC cards, letters, and photos. But that letter predated the SC so I thought it was interesting.
She isn't necessarily rare, and that letter seems very high, but I am a little surprised her value isn't slightly higher generally, given her historical status. She hasn't signed in years due to ill health so the pool of material is already determined.
I wonder if her widespread use of autopen could be part of why her autograph isn’t generally higher? I know when someone has a lot of fakes people are more worried about bidding/buying a person’s signature so that sometimes impacts the value of the authentic ones.
A 6x9 Supreme Court signed photo of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (not personalized) brought $1411 on RR Auction today. The previous one sold for less ($1259). Looking through sold prices of RBG, most hover between $1200-$1400 (sold from 2020 - 2022). Interestingly RR Auction has mostly only sold the 6x9 photos. The only noticeable difference was in 2014 when she was only bringing $270.
I wonder if RBG autographs will settle down to that price point again or at least get much cheaper than they are now. Still after an RBG signed Chambers Card.
Today I came across my RBG signed SC engraving
I had sent it to her when she was first nominated and it was subsequently misplaced on her end. Three years later (2/1/96) they sent it back.
Too bad there is no “Love” button because I LOVE this!
Hope you don’t mind but I changed my profile picture to the engraving part of your RBG autograph.
With today's announcement by Justice Stephen Breyer that he will retire at the end of this term, there is an uncommon opportunity to try to get the signature of the next SC justice before they are confirmed.
Since the past few new justices have not signed through the mail from the very beginning of their tenure on the Court, the best chance will be to figure out who the likely nominee might be and write to them sooner rather than later.
(Once they get to the nominee stage, they may already be off limits. I've had no luck with at least the past two justices.)
I was browsing Ruth Bader Ginsburg autographs last night and stumbled upon these two letters sent by RBG in 2020. Interesting late examples of her autograph.
Full signature but you can tell it probably took a long time to write out.
First name signature. Interesting she was still responding to some mail at this point.
Those late RBG letters are amazing. The strain is visible especially in the full signature.
The rumor today is that Ketanji Brown Jackson will be the next SC nominee.
It's off to the races to try to get her signature before she gets confirmed and stops responding, if she is like most other justices.
Fingers crossed me and you can get her to sign for us.
Found this amazing Chambers Card signed by the first three female Supreme Court Justices. Only problem it is $7,000. I think I would willing to pay up to $2,000 for it. Good news the JSA sticker is on LOA.
You're killing me here.
I had a SDO'C chambers card set aside for that very combination, but for some reason I never proceeded. I'm thinking I probably had other requests already in the pipeline.
The card pictured is very curious to me for two reasons.
First, it is a generic card without any specific justice's name printed on it.
Second, the placement of SDO'C's autograph is such that I almost think she wasn't the first to sign, but she probably was since hers is the largest.
BTW, there's room in the bottom right for Elena Kagin's signature.
I noticed that too about Sandra Day O’Connor’s signature placement. I would had expected it to be first and close to the top right under the words which is how they usually signs.
I also noticed that the Chambers Card was not from a specific Justice. But I have seen older Supreme Court Chambers Cards and they used to look like this until they started adding names on them in like the 70s or 80s.
Would be cool to add Kagan but very risky since it would likely have to be sent ttm since I don’t know how one would meet her these days (Supreme Court Building STILL closed to public due to Covid).
So yeah, not 100% sure on authenticity thinking about the placement of O’Connor’s signature so maybe I wouldn’t be a buyer at all. Also odd they would use an old Chambers Card. Could be a VERY good forgery.
I wonder if they have generic cards for new justices to use while their custom ones are being prepared.
I recall once when I wrote to a new congressman and he wrote back a handwritten note on an engraved but generic House of Representatives notecard. I looked closely and he handsigned the free frank on the envelope, which is never done in the modern era unless a collector persues one.
That’s a very interesting thought. If Ketanji Brown Jackson decides to respond to my letter perhaps we can test this theory and see if she send a letter/card on generic Supreme Court letterhead.
If Congress does that I definitely shouldn’t be surprised if the Supreme Court does the same.
I can confirm this item is authentic. I contacted the seller and they provided the 2010 letter from Sotomayor that stated the original cards the ttm requester sent were damaged so Sotomayor provided two of their own from the Supreme Court. She had O’Connor and Ginsburg signed them first then she signed them. Totally authentic because O’Connor isn’t autopen. I am guessing Ginsburg signed them first (perhaps she was around and then they tracked down O’Connor after) then O’Connor signed so that could explain the odd order. Kagan wasn’t yet on the court so that explains why it’s just the first three women Justices. The seller sold the other card a while ago for over $7,500 (they said it sold for much more than the current listing). It was a two of a kind situation as far as Supreme Court cards go. Very rare indeed. I know there are other items with the three (one I had seen with Kagan added) signed but they were photos or other type items and over $10K. I actually like the Supreme Court cards best for some reason but signed photos are nice too…especially that photo of the first four women Justices of the Supreme Court. LOVE that photo…and I saw one on eBay for over $10K signed by the four women. Awesome historic stuff.
Guess I will never own anything this amazing, but still cool to see.
Here is an FDC that I got back from Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer yesterday.
He turned down most TTM requests for years, but a window has opened in his last few months on the Court before he retires.
There is a slight yellowing of the FDC from the irradiation process that mail sent to government offices in Washington DC is subjected to. I don't usually send items to DC anymore for this reason, but the FDC was inexpensive enough that I thought I'd give it a try.
I found this amazing photo signed by the first four woman Supreme Court Justices. The seller actually got it signed in person (so it didn’t go through the “zapper” or get ruined by the screening process at all) and also no third party authentication sticker on photo. It is probably the only one in existence as I had never seen another anywhere else - just that Chambers Card and that was only signed by THREE not FOUR. If someone really wanted to they could send the Chambers Card to Kagan, risk it by having it zapped on the way to her and hoping she signed it or at least returned it which is way too risky in my opinion.
The only down side is the price for this one is - $9000! The seller did offer my a $1000 discount so I could have it for $8000. Nope, too much for me. I could MAYBE do $2500.
That's funny - I looked at the signatures before I read your text, and I thought they looked like probable IP signatures.
Very historic to be sure, but you might be able to find a four or even five presidents photo for that kind of money or less.
Also, it might be possible to get a full SC photo or engraving with all nine members which could include three of these four.
This photo is rare indeed, but it still has a value, and the one set by the seller seems high to me.
Plus, on the chambers card there would be room for other signatures. If someone has SDO'C and RBG on a SC engraving, for example, that would have room to add any number of additional signatures.
Agree with what you said but I absolutely love this photo. Too bad it’s so expensive. I noticed a lot of autographs that seem of less importance being MORE expensive than very historic and more important figures in history. For example I noticed an Martin Luther King, Jr. signature is MORE expensive than an Abraham Lincoln signature. Also RBG is more expensive than probably any other Supreme Court Justice’s signature (didn’t look up John Jay or John Marshall’s prices but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are less than RBG’s prices).
Yes, it is a great photo. I'm just mad I didn't think of getting one done. Of course, I don't think a photo would survive multiple trips in the mail to the SC.
Just looked up sold prices for John Jay ($400) and John Marshall ($800) signatures and I was right, both are less expensive than RBG ($1200 the least expensive one I have seen). I know RBG’s prices could very well go down in a few years or decades and adjust to more appropriate prices, but for now there are lots of other examples where someone more current outprices a historic and more important figure in same field. I recently learned Elton John’s autograph on a photo is $1000. Elvis Presley for comparison is also just about $1000 for a signed photo.
I know Justice Sonya Sotomayor wrote a children’s book. There are some signed copies out there. I have one myself.
I bought two of them in January. Very pleased with the signatures in them.
I was/am looking for a Harry A. Blackmun signed Chambers Card and noticed how he tends to sign them. He always signs at an angle and sometimes he will sign very close to the edge and other times more towards the middle. I am picky and prefer nice signature placement more towards the middle and not over the printed text on the card.
Here are two examples, one I find a little less than perfect and another that I find “perfect.”
Do you have a preference for signature placement or does not bother you at all?
I prefer my sigs in an empty area and preferably not in a dark area with dark ink in the same spot. I also dislike it when they sign right all over their face. I tend to avoid those kinds of autographs.
I can guess which one you like better.
Placement is key. Visuals are important.
That first card by Blackmun is "interesting" to put it nicely.
I've seen people who only signed near the top edge of a card or paper so no one could write anything above it. Some people have specific or even eccentric preferences or practices.