Supreme Court

Signed by 11 members of the Warren Court!

Philatelic display signed by 11 members of the Warren Court

Philatelic Display Signed “Earl Warren” as Chief Justice and “Hugo L. Black,” “Felix Frankfurter,” “W O Douglas,” “Harold H. Burton,” “Tom C. Clark,” “John M. Harlan,” “Wm. J. Brennan, Jr.,” and "Charles E. Whittaker” as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court on an 8.5” x 11” sheet of stationery engraved “Supreme Court of the United States / Washington, D.C.” Also signing is “John T. Fey / Clerk.” Fey served as Clerk of the Supreme Court from 1956-1958 when he became President of the University of Vermont. Light rippling gives it a parchment-like effect. A plate block of ten 3¢ National Capital Sesquicentennial stamps picturing the U.S. Supreme Court Building has been affixed beneath the letterhead. Fine condition.

A pair of the 3¢ Supreme Court stamps have been affixed beneath the plate block. Signing next to them are “Stanley Reed” and “Sherman Minton.” On October 16, 1956, Associate Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. succeeded Minton. Whittaker took his seat on the Supreme Court on March 25, 1957, replacing Reed. On October 13, 1958, Associate Justice Harold H. Burton retired. The nine members who have signed this sheet as Supreme Court Justices served together from March 25, 1957 until October 13, 1958.

On June 30, 1958, in a landmark case argued on January 15-16, 1958, Justice Harlan delivered this Supreme Court’s unanimous 9-0 decision in favor of the plaintiff in NAACP v. Alabama. The state of Alabama had ordered the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to reveal to the State’s Attorney General the names and addresses of all the NAACP’s members and agents in the state. The Court thought that if these lists were made public, violent acts might be made against its members. A compelled disclosure of the NAACP’s membership lists would have the effect of suppressing legal association among the group’s members and violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, one of the “Reconstruction Amendments” passed after the Civil War. The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment was the basis for the unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education just four years earlier in 1954.

Provenance: This signed philatelic display was in the collection of Lewis F. Shull, a President and Vice President of the American Stamp Dealers of America, and comes directly from the son of Lewis F. Shull. Included is a photocopy of an article from the January 10, 1987, issue of “The Stamp Wholesaler,” picturing Shull, retiring House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, and recently retired Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. From the article: “O’Neill was presented with a block of the 3c Supreme Court stamp (Scott #991 issued in 1950) that had been autographed by the nine active justices and retired Chief Justice Burger and mounted on Burger’s stationery. Burger was presented with two blocks of six of the 3c US Capitol stamp (#992 issued in 1950) mounted on the speaker’s stationery. It had been autographed by the Democrat and Republican leaders of both the Senate and the House … During the presentations, Chief Justice Burger commented on the importance of stamp collecting in teaching American history… Shull had known O’Neill for many years…” According to the article, the creation of the two signed philatelic displays “resulted from an idea of Lewis F. Shull.” An ASDA news release noted that Burger had approved the idea before his retirement in 1986 as Chief Justice.


Item: 53436

Price: $3,500.00
 Supreme Court
Supreme Court
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