President Ulysses S. Grant
On March 15, 1870 President U.S. Grant appointed Jonathan Q. Barton of Maine to "Passed Assistant Paymaster in the Navy". A Naval Paymaster also known as a Purser, was the Naval officer in charge of finances - most importantly, payroll and procuring supplies for the Navy. That position dates back to the British Royal Navy and was later introduced to our Navy in 1795 by President George Washington. The term "passed" refers to a "clerk". In this case, Mr. Barton was appointed the clerk to the assistant paymaster of the Navy.
Naval appointments are certainly the rarest and most desirable of all Presidential appointments, and this example boasts superior quality from the document itself, to the imagery, signatures, and text. The 150 year-old vellum paper is still bright and mostly clean offering excellent contrast to the dark black ink. It's also the full original size (16" x 19") and not trimmed along the edges, a common fault. The document presents two beautiful vignettes in incredible detail: one at the top of a gorgeous widespread American bald eagle and another at the bottom of a beautifully elaborate naval scene with ornate fictional figures. The official US Navy Seal is embossed and adhered dead center at the bottom while remaining intact and retaining its bold, blue color. Typically, Seals fall apart from documents, and those which have survived usually have issues such as tears, missing pieces and severe fading. Finally, President Grant's large signature is still rich in ink and free of imperfections. It's quite common for signatures on vellum to fade so badly that they're almost unidentifiable, but this fine example sports a nice, presentable Grant signature in dip pen ink on the lower right hand side. The Secretary of the Navy, George Maxwell Robeson, has added his counter signature to the lower left hand side as well. Unfortunately, many appointments were folded right over the signatures which loosens the ink and accelerates fading. The presented Grant signature luckily evaded creasing and presents unaltered with a signature strength of 8/10.
It is quite rare to find high grade Presidential appointments due to the way these documents were folded and stored. As noted, Naval appointments are especially desirable because the vignettes are so beautiful and elaborate, and they make wonderful displays. These are perfect for office walls, as well as centerpieces in dens or family rooms. Comes custom framed and double matted with UV plexiglass.
JSA Letter of Authenticity.
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