Published: May 26, 2016
Thirteenth Amendment Achieves $2,410,000; ‘Authorized Edition’ Of The Emancipation Proclamation Fetches $2,170,000.
NEW YORK CITY — “Two Centuries of American History,” Sotheby’s sale of rare books and manuscripts on May 26, charting the development of the United States of America, achieved $6,183,250. The auction was led by two highly significant documents signed by President Abraham Lincoln, the Thirteenth Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation, and saw significant bidding by a broad spectrum of collectors.
Selby Kiffer, senior vice president, books and manuscripts, commented: “It has been a privilege for Sotheby’s to work alongside Seth Kaller, advisor to the Gilder Lehrman Institute, and our other consigners as we built this specially curated sale covering ‘Two Centuries of American History.’. We were delighted with the results of both the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment, and are particularly pleased that proceeds from the sale of the Thirteenth Amendment are benefiting the acquisitions fund of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which provides unrivaled access to primary documents to students, teacher, historians and American history enthusiasts around the world.”
A limited edition of the Emancipation Proclamation, the only version with the full text to be signed by Lincoln, sold for $2,170,000, above the high estimate of $2 million. This groundbreaking document, flourished with the autographs of President Abraham Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward and his personal secretary, John G. Nicolay, not only declared some 4 million to be free, but also changed the mission of the Civil War from simply preserving the Union to eradicating slavery. It is one of 27 in existence, 19 of which are in institutions.
The Thirteenth Amendment realized $2,410,000. An extremely rare manuscript copy, one of three “Senate” copies known to exist, this historic document was the first significant change to the United States’ notion of civil liberties since the Bill of Rights in 1791.
Prices reported include the buyer’s premium. For information, 212-606-7000 or www.sothebys.com.
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