Two-Day Auction Offering Abraham Lincoln’s Possessions Scored $4.26 Million
Heritage Auctions wrapped up its celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s 213th birthday with the Lincoln and His Times auction. This two-day event nearly sold out and concluded with a total of USD 4,264,724. It featured documents with Lincoln’s signature, gifts, office-time souvenirs, and artifacts from his assassination. The event was the most successful Americana sale at Heritage Auctions to date, according to the auction house.
“We’re beyond thrilled. We knew we had good material and we had more than $2 million in left bids before the sale started but we didn’t know how much action we’d see over the weekend,” said Curtis Lindner, Heritage’s director of Americana.
From his days of practicing law in Springfield to his assassination, the auction reflected the various periods of Abraham Lincoln’s life.
The sale featured a custom pocket knife in its original presentation box. The knife was presented as a gift to Abraham Lincoln on June 16, 1864. Alfred B. Justice gifted the knife to Lincoln for attending the Great Central Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia. The piece sold for $519,000.The lot holds much historic significance. “The continued interest in Lincoln’s handwritten letters and personally owned items, including the presentation knife, continues to show the influence and respect collectors have for this great man,” said Heritage Auctions’ Executive Vice President Joe Maddalena.
In the event, the auction also featured an original draft manuscript petition of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Schuyler Colfax (speaker of the House of Representatives), Hannibal Hamlin (Vice President of the United States), and 107 members of the 38th Congress signed this particular document in an attempt to abolish slavery. The lot went under the hammer for $262,500. There are very few surviving original duplicates of this early draft.
The auction house also brought a historic item associated with Lincoln’s assassination to auction for the first time: the key to Box No. 7 at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The brass piece ties the present day back to the night of Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865. After obtaining this key, Lincoln and his wife entered the private box on the night of his demise. The event was one of the most tragic moments in history which changed the course of America’s future. This key sold for $495,000.
Heritage Auctions also included Abraham Lincoln’s personal copy of his portrait bust. Leonard Volk, a renowned artist from Chicago, sculpted the bust and presented it to the President in May of 1860. The artwork achieved $399,000. Lincoln later gifted the bust to Rev. Noyes Miner, who was a Baptist minister and shared the same street in Springfield. The personal copy of Lincoln’s portrait bust was held by Miner’s family before this auction.
Interested in more auction reviews? Auction Daily spotlighted important Op Art prints in another recent sale hosted by Heritage Auctions.