A text written and signed by Abraham Lincoln for a 10-year-old child, just weeks before he was assassinated, was sold in New York earlier this week for $2.2 million, an auction house said in a statement.
Lincoln wrote and signed the text for Linton Usher, son of his interior secretary John Usher, in March 1865 in a book that includes dozens of autographs from famous 19th century figures.
It sold to an anonymous collector for $2,213,000 — more than double its pre-sale estimate of $1 million, having previously remained in Usher family hands until now, said Heritage Auctions.
Lincoln wrote out the final passage of his second inaugural address — now immortalized on his memorial in Washington DC — and then signed it.
“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;” it reads.
“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.”
Sandra Palomino, director of rare manuscripts at Heritage, said it was one of just five manuscripts of that particular speech.
“Lincoln was not one to just scribble a quote for someone. It’s likely that this was written on request,” she said.
Lincoln wrote the text on a blank page of the book, bound in brown Moroccan leather, that Heritage said contains more than 70 other autographs, including that of poet Walt Whitman.
In 2009, a manuscript of a Lincoln speech urging the country to unite amid civil war sold in New York for $3.4 million, which Christie’s said was then a record for a US historical document.
Lincoln is considered by many to have been America’s greatest president. He led the country through civil war and in 1863 signed the Emancipation Proclamation to end slavery.
He was murdered in a Washington DC theater on April 15, 1865