Published: November 5, 2015
With Malice Toward None; With Charity For All
NEW YORK CITY — A text written and signed by Abraham Lincoln, quoting his second inaugural address, sold at Heritage Auctions on Wednesday, November 4, for $2,213,000 including the buyer’s premium.
Lincoln wrote and signed the text for 10-year-old Linton Usher, son of his interior secretary John Palmer Usher, in March 1865, just weeks before the president was shot in a Washington D.C. theater on April 15, 1865. Lincoln wrote the text in a book that includes dozens of autographs from famous Nineteenth Century figures.
It sold to collector who requested to remain anonymous for more than double its $1 million estimate—the book with the text included having previously remained in Usher family hands until now, said Sandra Palomino, director of rare manuscripts at Heritage Auctions. “This is just one of five manuscripts of that particular speech,” said Palomino, “so it’s an understatement to call it rare. Lincoln was not one to just scribble a quote for someone. It’s likely that this was written on request.”
Lincoln wrote the text on the second blank page of the book, bound in brown Moroccan leather, that contains more than 70 other autographs, including that of poet Walt Whitman. The Lincoln autograph is comprised of 13 lines of text and his bold signature.
“What’s amazing is how long this manuscript has been in this family,” said Palomino. “The Usher family has safeguarded this treasure since the Civil War. Today, it’s found a new home and new steward for the future.”
A full report on the auction will appear in a future issue.
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