1869 Dr. S.A. Mudd Presentation Cane
Appraised Value: $5,000 - $10,000 (2007)
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:41)
Decorative Arts, Furniture, Silver
Vice President & Generalist Appraiser, European Furniture
GUEST: The cane was passed down to me after my grandfather passed away.
It was given to him by his mother. And it was given to, I believe, my great-great-grandfather from Dr. Mudd.
APPRAISER: Dr. Mudd. Do you know who Dr. Mudd is?
GUEST: Dr. Mudd set Booth's leg after he assassinated Lincoln.
APPRAISER: Yeah. What's the connection between Mudd and your family?
GUEST: He gave it to his cousin, I believe, Sarah Mudd, who would have been... I'm not sure how far back in the grandparents' line.
APPRAISER: Yeah, that's all right.
GUEST: But our family, I guess, is somewhere linked to the Mudd family.
APPRAISER: And so that's how you ended up... your family ended up with the cane.
GUEST: Henry Clarke, who is, I believe, is my great-great-grandfather, and he did some legal work for Dr. Mudd after he was incarcerated, and it was given in appreciation for it.
APPRAISER: Now, do you know why Dr. Mudd was incarcerated?
GUEST: They believed he was part of the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln.
APPRAISER: That's right, that's right. In fact, because he set his leg, therefore, he aided and abetted a criminal and was tried in military court and was sent to prison. It's actually mentioned on this here. It says, "To Henry A. Clarke from Dr. S.A. Mudd," and it says "Dry Tortugas," which is where the prison Fort Jefferson was, which is off the coast of Florida, and the date is 1869. While he was imprisoned for aiding and abetting Booth, he was in a carpentry shop,
GUEST: Oh, okay.
APPRAISER: and he spent a lot of time, in addition to being a doctor, carving and turning wooden objects. He gave some of them to his guards, and he gave them to other people as a gesture of thanks. And when there was a huge yellow fever epidemic in the prison, the prison doctor died. And because he was a doctor, he volunteered his services to help and saved so many people's lives. And actually, some of the soldiers wrote letters to the president to say you really should pardon this person; he's done wonderful things. And he was pardoned by President Johnson in 1869, which is the date on the edge of the cane.
APPRAISER: Now, if I just saw this cane, which is a very typical gift in the 19th century, it's, you know, lovely, tropical hardwood. You would probably be looking at maybe $150.
APPRAISER: But with the Booth connection, with the Mudd connection, you've got this fantastic artifact of a time for someone who had such an important role and still an enduring sort of question in U.S. history. Valuewise, you're probably looking at $5,000 to $7,000. It could easily fetch $10,000 perhaps at auction, because of the Lincoln connection. And it's really, this is a case where the story makes... gives it the value.
This website is produced for PBS Online by WGBH Boston. ©1997-2014 WGBH Educational Foundation.
ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is a trademark of the BBC and is produced for PBS by WGBH under license from BBC Worldwide.
WGBH and PBS are not responsible for the content of websites linked to or from ANTIQUES ROADSHOW Online.
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.