Back on March 13, 2008 I reported the story about the letter Abraham Lincoln wrote to schoolchildren in Massachusetts in response to their petition for him to end slavery. The letter is beautiful, eloquent, and moving as so much of his writing was. The pre-auction estimate was between 3 and 5 million dollars.
The auction was held today at Sotheby’s in New York and fetched an incredible $3.4 million. As usual with these special pieces of history, the bidder remains anonymous, unless of course he or she chooses to reveal his or her identity at some point. One would hope that the new owner will consider putting it on display at some point or even consider donating it to a museum, so everyone can enjoy it.
Also auctioned today was the only known autograph of Abraham Lincoln signed on the day of the dedication of the Gettysburg Cemetery, November 19, 1863. That autograph sold for an amazing $937,000 to a first time bidder at Sotheby’s.
There were other documents signed by Lincoln and other presidents such as Thomas Jefferson which failed to sell. That of course means that the reserve price or opening price was not met.