Photo Abraham Lincoln Signed Weeks Before Assassination Reels In $125,000

A photograph signed by former President Abraham Lincoln three weeks before he was assassinated took home $125,000 at auction on Wednesday. University Archives says this is potentially the last photo Lincoln ever graced his signature with.

Abraham Lincoln signed photograph
Abraham Lincoln signed photograph. (credit: University Archives)

It hit the pre-sale estimate of $100,000-$150,000.

“Carte-de-visite portrait photograph signed ‘A. Lincoln’ as President, taken at Mathew Brady’s Gallery, Washington, D.C., February 9, 1864. Verso with interesting contemporary ink inscription (partly cropped away): ‘[The President’s photograph] was procured for L.E. Sle[?] by Wm. Slade, confidential messenger to his Excellency. March 25th 1865.’ The photograph is mounted on card, neatly trimmed to the edges of the print; even age toning throughout. PSA graded Gem MT 10 with an accompanying Letter of Authenticity, encapsulated to the overall size of 3′ x 5.5′,” University Archives writes in the description lot.

Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, while attending a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. He died from his wounds the next morning in the Peterson House near the theater.

Lincoln was the first president to be assassinated.

“While Lincoln obligingly affixed his signature to a significant number of carte-de-visite photographs during his presidency, he is not known to have dated any of these. The present example, with a particularly large, clear signature, is unusual in that it carries an inscription on the verso — probably by the original owner — that specifies it being signed on 24 March 1865, only three weeks before Lincoln’s death at the hands of an assassin,” notes University Archives.

The signed Lincoln photo previously sold at Christie’s in December 2005 for $57,600.

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