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Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln to Mary Owens – the Only Letter to his Fiancée Still in Private Hands – Short on Love and Long on Politics

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Mary S. Owens, December 13, 1836, 2 pp., 9¾ x 7¾ in.

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Write back as soon as you get this, and if possible say something that will please me, for really I have not been pleased since I left you.

Here, Lincoln perfectly demonstrates what Owens later described as deficiencies “in those little links which make up the chain of a woman’s happiness.”  Rather than expressing his feelings for Owens, Lincoln complains about his health and discusses political issues swirling in the Illinois General Assembly. Although inept at love, the letter offers rare insight into the young representative’s thoughts on a variety of political issues. In this highly important letter to Mary Owens, a self-absorbed Lincoln complains to his potential spouse of his health, both physical and mental, and discusses political issues to the point that he describes his own letter as “dry and stupid.” Perhaps more revealing than he realized, it illustrates the tension in Lincoln’s early life between matters of the head, with which he was comfortable, and matters of the heart, with which he clearly was not.

Item #24346.99, $390,000

Abraham Lincoln Lengthy and Attractive Signed Legal Brief in a Case Heard by Judge David Davis, Later Lincoln’s Campaign Manager and Supreme Court Appointee

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Manuscript Signed by Lincoln as “Bush & Lincoln pq,” Narratio, March 1850, in the case of Matthews v. Saltonstall, April 1850 term of the Tazewell County Circuit Court. 2 ½ pp with approx. 670 words in Lincoln’s hand, blue paper.

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On September 20, 1849, William L. Saltonstall began building a road through Josiah Matthews’ land, southwest of Tremont, Illinois.  Matthews objected and retained Abraham Lincoln and local attorney John M. Bush to file suit against in the Tazewell County Circuit Court, at the newly constructed courthouse in Pekin, on March 9, 1850. Matthews sued in the action of trespass and requested $500 for damage to his land. Saltonstall retained Lincoln’s former partner John T. Stuart and local attorney Benjamin F. James. In an affidavit filed on April 6, they declared that Guerdon F. Saltonstall could testify that six years earlier, when he owned the land, he and Matthews agreed that a lane be left along Matthews’ property as a right-of-way. Pending his testimony, the judge ordered a continuance. Both parties then agreed to arbitration, and on June 4, 1850, Matthews agreed that a right of way was necessary, and Saltonstall agreed to pay actual damages to be set by the arbitrators.  Three arbitrators viewed the land and listened to testimony. On June 12, they rendered their decision that Saltonstall should pay Matthews $16 and also pay $5.90 for the costs of the arbitration. At the September 1850 term of the Tazewell County Circuit Court, Judge David Davis dismissed the case, ordering Matthews to pay $2.40 in court costs.

Item #24513, $11,500

Lincoln Helps Promote General Milroy and Col. Cluseret For Their Gallant Service Battling Stonewall Jackson

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Endorsement Signed “A. Lincoln,” Washington, September 27, 1862. One page note on a panel of a folded sheet, accompanied by a letter signed by William Seward on Executive Mansion stationery. Folds, some original ink smudging to date on Lincoln panel and a few stray ink marks, Lincoln’s text and signature dark. 2 pp., 5 x 8 in.

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Cluseret was one of the most interesting foreign officers who came to fight for the Union. A Frenchman who opposed their 1848 revolution, then fought in the Crimean War, then with Garibaldi for Italian Unification. After he was arrested and forced to resign due to quarrels with Milroy, he returned to France, and then fought in Ireland’s Fenian Revolution.

Item #24545.01-.02, $9,500

Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant on Civil War Era Patriotic Milk Glass Vase

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN, WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, AND ULYSSES S. GRANT], Pale green patriotic milk glass vase with hand-colored transfer portraits of Lincoln, Sherman, and Grant. Height 10½ inches, covered with hand-painted designs including an eagle, American shield, unfurled flag, banner inscribed “E Pluribus Unum,” with lilacs, gold banding and Greek key motifs. No markings or indication of origin, but likely produced towards the end of the Civil Civil War. Ca. 1865.

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Item #24349, $7,500

Abraham Lincoln Patriotic Milk Glass Goblet

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Patriotic Milk Glass Goblet. Height 5½ inches. The design elements are either entirely hand-painted or transfer-printed with hand-painted highlights and include a portrait of Lincoln, and an American eagle, bannerette, flag, shield and oak leaves on the opposite side. Three levels of gold banding, garlands of flowers and Arabesque designs finish the piece. Not marked, circa 1865.

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Item #24350, $6,500

Despite Treason Accusation, Lincoln Can’t Fire a Lt. Col. Appointed by NY Governor

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed (“A. Lincoln”), December 28, 1861, Executive Mansion, Washington, D.C., to Henry Liebenau, Esq. 1 page, 5 x 8 in.

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“The appeal must be made, if at all, to the Governor.”

Item #24189, $22,000

Abraham Lincoln and Archduke Franz Joseph:
A Unique Link Between Our Martyred President and the Assassination That Started WWI

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Partially Printed Document Signed “Abraham Lincoln,” Washington, D.C., February 18, 1864. 1 p. 8 x 10 in.

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President Abraham Lincoln directs Secretary of State William H. Seward to attach the seal of the United States to the envelope for a letter to the Austrian Emperor. This remarkable document forms an extraordinary connection between two important world events—the American Civil War and World War I.  In the letter to which this order relates, Lincoln congratulated Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria on the birth of his nephew Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  The assassination of this archduke fifty years later in Sarajevo sparked World War I.

Item #24501, $12,500

The Emancipation Proclamation:
A Miniature Edition of the Document that Saved America

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Pamphlet. Proclamation of Emancipation, by the President of the United States, January 1st, 1863. [Boston, Mass., John Murray Forbes, ca. Jan. 20, 1863]. 8 pp., plus printed wraps, 2¼ x 3¼ in.

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“All persons held as slaves within said designated States

and parts of States are and henceforward shall be free.”

Item #24310, $22,000

1860 Republican Party Roll Call from the Chicago Wigwam Convention that Nominated Lincoln for the Presidency

[REPUBLICAN PARTY], Broadside, “Roll of the National Republican Convention, Chicago, May 16th, 1860,” Chicago, 1860, 14⅜ x 20½ in.

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Exceedingly rare broadside containing a complete list of the members of the National Committee and Delegates. Printing the vote counts of 26 States and the District of Columbia. Representing the southern slave owning states are: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia.

Item #24111, $3,750

President Lincoln & His Most Profitable Client, the Illinois Central Railroad

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed “A. Lincoln” as President, to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, May 23, 1863. “Executive Mansion, Washington” stationery, 2 pp. on one sheet, 7¾ x 9¾ in. With front panel of original envelope, to which Lincoln has added an Autograph Note Signed, and Stanton has also added an Autograph Note Signed.

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Less than six years after he successfully sued the Illinois Central for legal fees, President Lincoln faces another problem with the railroad, now vital for the transportation of Union troops. In another dispute over payments, he tells his Secretary of War, “If I had the leisure which I have not, I believe I could settle it; but prima facie it appears to me we better settle the account ourselves...”

Item #22131, $60,000

The 1858 Debates that Propelled Lincoln to National Attention

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Book. Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, in the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois. Columbus, Ohio: Follett, Foster, and Co., 1860. 3rd edition, with publisher’s advertisements bound in. 268 pp., 6½ x 9½ in.

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Item #22476, $1,500

“Let Us Have Faith that Right Makes Might…”

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN] SCHUYLER COLFAX, Autograph Quote Signed, from Lincoln’s Cooper Institute speech given on February 27, 1860. Sept 10, 1877.

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Schuyler Colfax, U.S. representative from Indiana and vice president under Ulysses S. Grant, pens a famous quote from Lincoln’s Cooper Institute speech.

Item #23916, $950

The First War Department Printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Bound with 400-plus 1862-1863 General Orders, including the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Printed Document. Emancipation Proclamation. Signed in type by Lincoln, Secretary of State William H. Seward, and Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas. General Order No. 1, War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington January 2, 1863 (but based on usual practice, more likely printed ca. January 7th.). 3pp.

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This book of official War Department orders was bound together for Army paymaster Major N.S. Brinton.

Item #23692, $4,500

Rare Lincoln 1864 Presidential Campaign Newspaper

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Newspaper. Father Abraham. Reading, PA: October 4, 1864. Vol 1, No 10. 4 pp., 17¾ x 11¾ in.

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Item #23426, $1,250

A Rare Abraham Lincoln Survey and Plat Plan

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph memorandum and plat (completely in Lincoln’s hand), unsigned. [Springfield, Ill.], between October 1837 – June 1838. 1 p., 7¾ x 6¼ in.

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Between rail splitting, shop-keeping and lawyering, one of Lincoln’s lesser-known professions was as county surveyor. Here, he combines skills, representing the widow Rhoda Hart in legal proceedings involving the sale of her deceased husband’s land against a competing family member’s claims. Lincoln and Hart prevailed.

Most of Lincoln’s surveys were made for town and county governments rather than individuals land holders. As a result, unlike those of George Washington, very few Lincoln surveys have ever come on the market. We find only two, without land plats, in major auction records of the last 40 years (one selling at the 1979 Sang auction, and again at Sotheby’s in 1987; and the other, now being offered privately for $32,500, but frankly, it has no visual appeal.)

Item #23770, $25,000

The Gettysburg Address, with Full Centerfold Illustrations of the Battlefield and Lincoln’s Dedication Ceremony

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, Newspaper, Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, New York, December 5, 1863. 16 pp., complete.

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“and that Government of the people, for the people, and for all people, shall not perish from earth.”

As printing technology advanced through the middle decades of the nineteenth century, illustrated newspapers grew in popularity even though their engravings added a few weeks to press time. Leslie’s printing—from December 5—includes an article containing the full text of Lincoln’s timeless speech (page 11). Illustrations include a centerfold spread with the formal dedication ceremony prominently placed, and smaller views of Union and rebel graves, defensive works, Meade’s headquarters, and a view of the town (centerfold).  A large illustration of “The War in Tennessee—Lookout Mountain and Its Vicinity” appears on the front page.

There is no definitive text that captures exactly how Lincoln spoke that day, though the AP reporter’s text is most familiar. Leslie’s printing, following the Philadelphia Enquirer version, contains variations, most notably in the final two sentences regarding the nation’s unfinished work and closing phrase of “Government of the people, for the people, and for all people” rather than “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Item #23577.01, $2,750

Peter Cooper’s Letter to Lincoln Regarding Emancipation

PETER COOPER. [SLAVERY], Pamphlet. Letter of Peter Cooper, on Slave Emancipation, Loyal Publication Society, New York, 1862, 8pp., disbound.

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“It is a fact that the enslavement of human beings has so far infused its insidious poison into the very hearts of the Southern people, that they have come to believe and declare the evil of slavery to be a good, and to require the power of Government to be exerted to maintain, extend, and perpetuate an institution that enables thousands to sell their own children, to be enslaved, with all their posterity, into hopeless bondage....”

The founder of New York City’s Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art echoes the language and logic of the Emancipation Proclamation (as well as citing some Southern pro-slavery arguments to demonstrate their ridiculousness) in this open letter to President Lincoln. Cooper and the Cooper Union had long been advocates of abolition and both Lincoln and Frederick Douglass had famously lectured at the institution.

Item #23579, $400

Lincoln Summons His Cabinet for a Historic Meeting to Discuss Compensated Emancipation

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, as President, to Secretary of State William H. Seward, “Executive Mansion,” Washington, D.C., March 5, 1862. Signed at bottom by “William H. Seward,” with a note in an unidentified contemporary hand. 1 p. 4¾ x 7¼ in.

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The United States is the only nation in history to end slavery through Civil War. Nations as diverse as Russia, the British Empire, France, Brazil, and others around the world ended their reliance on slave labor through legislative means that included some form of compensation to slaveowners for their lost “assets.” Here, President Lincoln requests that Secretary of State William Seward summon a meeting of the Cabinet. The following day, the president presented a special message to Congress with his plan end slavery through compensation. There were no takers among the slaveholding border states. The brevity of Lincoln’s letter belies its far-reaching implications and the tantalizing possibilities of “what might have been.”

Item #23747, $90,000

Lincoln’s Compensated Emancipation Proposal

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Newspaper. Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pa., March 7, 1862. 8 pp., 15½ x 20½ in. With “Message from the President...Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State which may adopt gradual abolition of slavery.” [Printing Lincoln’s March 5 message to Congress on page 1.]

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The United States is the only nation in history to end slavery through Civil War. Nations as diverse as Russia, the British Empire, France, Brazil, and others around the world ended their reliance on slave labor through legislative means that included some form of compensation to slave owners for their lost “assets.” Here, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the front page that Lincoln presented a special message to Congress with a plan to end slavery through compensation. There would be no takers among the slaveholding border states.

Item #30001.28, $500

The Gettysburg Address – First Day of Printing, Lowell

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, Newspaper, Lowell Daily Citizen & News, Lowell, Mass., November 20, 1863. 4 pp., 17 ½ x 23 in.

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“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us; that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain...”

This rare first day of publication newspaper contains Lincoln’s timeless embodiment of American ideals on page 2. This printing from November 20, a day after the speech, includes a report on the ceremonies, and mentions Edward Everett’s speech (calling it “long,”). The text of this Massachusetts newspaper closely follows the Boston Daily Advertiser’s text, which varies slightly from the AP versions.

Item #23307, $10,000
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