Abraham Lincoln custom pocketknife in its original presentation box.
Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.
The auction featured documents with Lincoln’s signature, gifts, office-time souvenirs and artifacts from his assassination. The event was Heritage Auctions’ most successful Americana sale to date, according to a spokesperson for 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. Among the featured items was a custom pocketknife in its original presentation box. The knife was a gift from Alfred B. Justice to the former president for attending the Great Central Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia on June 16, 1864, a fundraiser for wounded Union soldiers. The lot, which has great historic significance, sold for $519,000. “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. An original draft manuscript petition of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was also among the historic items up for sale. 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 is only a handful of surviving original duplicates of this early draft. The key to Box No. 7 at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., the site of Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865, was among the highly prized items for collectors, and the first time Heritage has offered an item associated with the tragedy that changed the course of America’s future. This key sold for $495,000. Finally, the auction included Abraham Lincoln’s personal copy of his portrait bust by Leonard Volk, a renowned artist from Chicago. Volk presented the bust to the former president in May of 1860, which Lincoln later gifted to Reverend Noyes Miner, a Baptist minister. The bust, which fetched $399,000, had remained in the Miner family to present-day.
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