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Lincoln autographed manuscript, quoting his second inaugural address, brings $2,213,000 at auction

on Sunday, 08 November 2015. Posted in General Autograph News

Signed just weeks before his assassination, ""With malice toward none; with charity for all"; signed for 10-year-old Linton J. Usher, son of Lincoln's Secretary of the Interior, John Palmer Usher; passed down in the Usher family until today
lincoln heritage


NEW YORK — An astounding Abraham autographed manuscript, signed in March 1865, in which America's most beloved President not only signs his name boldly and clearly, but also writes out the famed final passage of his second inaugural address, brought $2,213,000 at auction on Wednesday, Nov. 4, in New York. It sold for more than double its pre-auction estimate of $1,000,000 and more than four times the $500,000 minimum bid.


The collector who purchased it requested to remain anonymous.

"This is just one of five manuscripts of that particular speech," said Sandra Palomino, Director of Rare Manuscripts at Heritage Auctions, "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."

The manuscript originally belonged to Linton J. Usher, the son of Lincoln's Secretary of the Interior, John Palmer Usher. It has remained in the family ever since. 

Found on the second blank leaf of the book, the Lincoln autograph is comprised of 13 lines of text and signature. Lincoln wrote the final passage of his second inaugural address, words now immortalized on the memorial dedicated to the 16th president: "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan – to do all which may achieve, and cherish a just, and a lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations. – Abraham Lincoln."

"What's amazing is how long this manuscript has been in this family," said Sandra Palomino, Director or Rare Manuscripts at Heritage Auctions. "The Usher family has safeguarded this treasure since the Civil War. Today, it's found a new home and new steward for the future."