Abraham Lincoln Documents
Appraised Value: $62,000
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:04)
Books & Manuscripts
Senior Vice President & Senior Specialist, Rare Books and Manuscripts
GUEST: Well, my husband's great-grandfather was the governor of Ohio between 1846 and 1848, and his son was his secretary, who was only 21 years old at the time, and he collected a number of autographs. Specifically started with the signers of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, and he had quite a collection of those. I don't think the family ever threw anything away.
APPRAISER: Well, we singled out a few particular ones. The first document is black-bordered, and it's an invitation to Abraham Lincoln's funeral services in Springfield in April 1865.
GUEST: That's right.
APPRAISER: These are quite rare; I've only seen one or two of these ever, because I don't think too many people got them. You also have the original envelope it was mailed in, which is nice-- helps document the piece. And clearly, Lincoln and your ancestor had a connection that went way back. The thing that I really was thrilled to see is this fragile little pamphlet here, which is the text of Lincoln's Cooper Union address. The title is "The Address of the Honorable Abraham Lincoln." It was delivered in New York in February 1860, so right before the presidential campaign developed.
GUEST: That's right.
APPRAISER: And this happens to be the speech that sort of propelled Lincoln into the national consciousness, made him a national contender for the presidency. So it's a very important address. This is how it first appeared before the public, in this pamphlet, and best of all, up at the top here, is this little ink inscription: "With respects of A. Lincoln." So this was presented by Lincoln to your ancestor, who was presumably on the same side politically, in some sense. An abolitionist, perhaps.
GUEST: Yes, very definitely.
APPRAISER: So, let's talk about the potential value of these pieces. The invitation to the funeral is quite a rare document-- I've only seen one or two others-- because I don't think the list of invitees was very long. (chuckles) I would value this for insurance purposes at $2,000.
APPRAISER: I'm really quite bowled over by this one. I looked in auction records. I was not able to track down another copy with an inscription like that, and I think if I was doing an insurance appraisal for you, on this one item alone I'd put a value of $60,000.
APPRAISER: It's a very important piece. It's in wonderful condition.
GUEST: Oh, I had no idea.
APPRAISER: You've kept it in immaculate condition, and the inscription is clear, bold-- you couldn't ask for more.
GUEST: I'm really flabbergasted, because I've always thought that the invitation was the... real special one.
APPRAISER: But without that inscription and signature, this would only be a couple hundred dollars.
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