US Civil War
See also : Political writing Autograph Historical arms Firearms II Paper currency
Chronology : 1860-1869
1863 US Grant's Remington Revolvers
2022 SOLD for $ 5.2M by RIAC
Remington released in 1863 their New Model Army revolver. The serial numbers 1 and 2 were presented in the summer or fall of 1863 or in early 1864 to Grant as a cased set by two veterans made wealthy from the cotton trade. The ivory grips were carved in raised relief with his bust on one side and US attributes including the flying eagle on the opposite side. These unsigned figures were made by the master engraver Louis D. Nimschke.
Hidden from public view, the pair surfaced on display in the Las Vegas Antique Arms Show in 2018. Offered in its deluxe rosewood case, was sold for $ 5.2M from a lower estimate of $ 1M by RIAC on May 13, 2022, lot 106. Both revolvers are in excellent condition with a deep sharp engraving. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
Russia, which was a staunch ally to the Union, followed that example. In 1864, after a visit of the Russian fleet to the USA, their government commissioned another pair from the same model for presentation to Tsar Alexander II. Their ivory grips are decorated in raised relief, the left side with the Russian double headed eagle and the opposite side with the same US attributes as on the Grant revolvers. Nimschke signed these pieces with his trademark.
Re-united in 1991 by a keen historian after being separated since the Russian Revolution, the Russian pair in an exceptionally fine condition was sold for $ 460K by RIAC on May 15, 2021, lot 1158.
Remington New Model Army revolvers presented to Civil War general & 18th U.S. president Ulysses S. Grant sold for $5,170,000 (est. $1/3 million) May 13 at @RIAuction https://t.co/LL2Y9iwwcJ #antiques #antique #vintage #appraisal #Americana #gun #guns #Grant #POTUS #Remington pic.twitter.com/LcartuGeoR— Maine Antique Digest (@AntiqueDigest) June 22, 2022
1864 Emancipation Proclamation
ex Robert Kennedy
2010 SOLD for $ 3.8M by Sotheby's
At the promised date, January 1, 1863, Lincoln proclaimed an executive order abolishing slavery in the ten states on which he had no control.
Of course, this statement was not sufficient to end the US Civil War. In mid 1864, charity gatherings organized by the US Sanitary Commission are held everywhere to support the Union troops.
The President, always ready for personal commitment, then accepts the project of the authorized edition of the Emancipation Proclamation, one of the initiatives to raise funds.
The document consists of a title and 52 lines of text printed in a single page on a watermarked Whatman paper sheet 55 x 44 cm. 48 copies bear the three autograph signatures of Abraham Lincoln, of the Secretary of State William Seward and of John Nicolay, private secretary to the President.
This strategy confirms that in the mind of Lincoln the end of slavery is the main issue of the Civil War. Without alienating the states loyal to the Union, it gave such a boost to the slaves that their emancipation had no more obstacles, entering into the constitution through the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865.
In the next century the Kennedy brothers are considering new advances for civil rights. The murder of the President does not slow down the ardor of his brother. In 1964, Robert Kennedy bought at auction at Parke-Bernet a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln and Seward.
This ex Kennedy document was sold for $ 3.8M on December 10, 2010 by Sotheby's, Parke-Bernet's successor.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's :
2016 SOLD for $ 2.17 M by Sotheby's
2012 SOLD for $ 2.1M by Robert A. Siegel
1864 Answer by Lincoln to the Children's Petition
2008 SOLD for $ 3.4M by Sotheby's
The President received a great deal of mail which was carefully handled by his secretaries. Amidst thousands of requests for favors, he was moved by a letter forwarded to him in early April 1864 by Charles Sumner, senator from Massachusetts, more radical than him for an immediate emancipation.
The document is a children's petition prepared and annotated by Mrs Mann, a widow who had founded a school in Concord MA. 195 boys and girls under 18 wrote their names under a simple and short text : "Children's Petition to the President asking him to free all the little slave children in this country".
The President prepares an autograph draft, which is kept at the Library of Congress. He replies to Mrs Mann : "Please tell these little people I am very glad their young hearts are so full of just and generous sympathy, and that, while I have not the power to grant all they ask, I trust they will remember that God has, and that, as it seems, He wills to do it ".
This answer is very important to the President, who himself copies his draft onto an 8 x 5 inch letterhead page of the Executive Mansion in Washington. Dated April 5, 1864, the letter is addressed to Mrs Mann to whom it is transmitted through the good care of the Senator. It was sold for $ 3.4M by Sotheby's on April 3, 2008, lot 85.
On April 20, Mrs Mann thanks the President for his "sweet words to the children" for whom she was going to have facsimiles prepared, replacing her name as a precaution with the identification of the place of origin, Concord MA. She insists in her abolitionist demand by courteously calling out to the President : "You who can hasten it must be the happiest of men, for in saving the colored man you will feel that you are doing equal service to the white man".
1864 Re-election Speech of President Lincoln
2009 SOLD for $ 3.4M by Christie's
In August the fall of Atlanta happened, and supporters of Lincoln saw that a military victory was possible. On November 8, Lincoln won the election, one of the most important in the history of his country : his anti-slavery ideas would now be able to overcome. The end of the war came also very soon afterwards.
On 10 November 1864, at the White House, the reelected president made an important speech to celebrate his political victory. The paper he wrote with his hand for reading it on that day was sold for $ 3.4M by Christie's on 12 February 12, 2009. Those four pages in excellent condition were owned by the heirs of Lincoln before going into a library that sold them at that auction. This sale was made on the very day of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln, who was born on 12 February 1809.
1865 The Thirteenth Amendment
2016 SOLD for $ 2.4M by Sotheby's
The thirteenth amendment to the Constitution was a major political achievement by Lincoln. It was not an easy operation, especially as the President did not want to wait for the end of the Civil War.
On 8 April 1864 the Senate voted at 38 against 6 a resolution in favor of the thirteenth amendment, but its embedding into the Constitution also required the approval of the House of Representatives and of 3/4 of the States.
In the House, the required 2/3 majority of voters was impossible to achieve in 1864 but the new elections have strengthened the power of Lincoln. The text was accepted on January 31, 1865 after a first negative vote followed by a change of opinion of some voters.
The joint resolution of both chambers is signed on the next day. In the joy of this event, some manuscript duplicates are prepared on the official paper of the Congress.
One of these copies was sold for $ 2.4M by Sotheby's on May 25, 2016, lot 79. This document 55 x 40 cm is signed by 36 senators from the historic proclamation of 1864 and by Abraham Lincoln himself who endorse it as "Approved".
Slavery was abolished in the United States of America in December 1865 when Georgia becomes the 27th state to ratify the thirteenth amendment, eight months after the death of the President.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's for introducing the sale, featuring also a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.
1865 The Second Inauguration of President Lincoln
2015 SOLD for $ 2.2M by Heritage
The concluding paragraph is directly adapted from the Psalms and from King James Bible : "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God fives 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 ".
Two autograph transcripts of this final paragraph are known. Both were signed by the president. Each has been incorporated into an album that has received comments and signatures from most cabinet members and from Vice President Johnson.
The album of Caroline Wright, a friend of Lincoln's wife and the wife of a former senator from Indiana, was sold by Christie's for $ 1.32M on November 20, 1992.
The other album was made for Linton Usher, the son of the Home secretary. The 13-year-old boy often accompanied his father to cabinet meetings. His mother collected the first signatures for him in the days following the inauguration. Other pages were added until 1887, bringing to 74 the total number of inscriptions spread over 43 pages 14 x 22 cm. It was sold for $ 2.2M by Heritage on November 5, 2015, lot 49127.
1865 The Last Speech of President Lincoln
2002 SOLD for $ 3.1M by Christie's
Lincoln is proud of his advances in favor of freedom, which he considers indispensable in the spirit of the Constitution. The attribution of civil rights to freed slaves is henceforth unrestricted in that logic.
John Wilkes Booth attends the speech with two other conspirators. Their first idea had been to prepare for a kidnapping but this political statement infuriates him. He says, "That means nigger citizenship ... That is the last speech he will ever give". The crowd is too enthusiastic for immediate action, but Booth keeps his word : on April 14, he kills Lincoln.
The final autograph manuscript of Lincoln's last speech is a 12 page document 35 x 21 cm, 22 lines in black ink on each front side. The writing is very regular, with only six small autograph changes. It is complete, and in superb condition except for small smudges on the first page. Coming from the Forbes collection, it was sold for $ 3.1M by Christie's on March 27, 2002, lot 105.
1866 1863-Type Gold Certificate
2013 SOLD for $ 2.1M by Heritage
The act of Congress of March 3, 1863 authorized the issue of Gold certificates redeemable only at the Treasury against gold coins of the designated amount. Six denominations are allowed: $ 20, 100, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000.
The equivalence between metal and paper would be a good idea if the price of the raw metal was immutable. After a relatively short time during which the success of the operation can be considerable, a party is aggrieved: either the government or the speculators. The papers are reimbursed and disappear.
Very few units of the first issue of the top five denominations have survived. None $ 500 and $ 10,000. The only known copy in $ 1000 and $ 5000, and two of the three known in $ 100 are in the collections of the Smithsonian.
The interest of collectors at the only "1863" $ 100 certificate in private hands is obvious, especially since it is graded PCGS Apparent Extremely Fine 40. It is dated December 13, 1866.
It was privately sold through Heritage in June 2006 for, $ 2.1 M and sold at auction, also by Heritage, on April 26, 2013. also for $ 2.1M, lot 18171.