News-Antique.com - May 07,2016 - Pivitol times can be more than stories in a dusty history book if we make them come alive through the objects left behind. One such event is the assassination of President Lincoln.
It has been over 150 years since that fateful day in Ford’s Theatre, yet the legacy of Abraham Lincoln remains the greatest of all past presidents. Consistently ranked by numerous polls and surveys as the greatest president who ever lived, Lincoln’s life represents countless aspects of the American dream and the ideals by which the United States aspires to continue to this day.
Antiques, artifacts, and documents directly connected to Abraham Lincoln are some of the most highly sought-after relics of American history. In fact, the Raab Collection, one of the world’s leading collectors and sellers of historical documents and autographs, cites documents written and signed by President Lincoln as being especially valuable. Lincoln was, after all, a brilliant communicator and his words remain as succinctly insightful today as they did over a century and a half ago.
Would Lincoln be as popular a president -- and artifacts and documents connected to him as prized -- if he were not assassinated? The biography of Lincoln ends with a “rock star” finale - an early death at the pinnacle of an incredible career. If modern obsessions with “gone-too-soon” celebrities and their belongings are any indicator, Lincoln’s death has as much to do with the popularity of artifacts and documents directly connected to him as does the enormous impact he had on American life, past and present.
From the antique collector’s point-of-view, it’s simply a matter of statistics and limitation. Other significant and enduringly popular historical personalities had relatively full lives. Their deaths were not sudden or untimely, and as a consequence, there is an abundance of artifacts connected to them which survive (the post-presidency leads to exponential autograph signing and so forth, increasing supply and lowering demand).
Lincoln, however, was a relatively unknown lawyer and small-time politician before ascending to the presidency, and of course, he never lived a day as an ex-president. Thus, the number of antiques, artifacts, and documents associated with him is extremely limited. Coupled with the significant role Lincoln played in American history -- preventing the republic from splintering into two separate nations and helping to destroy slavery -- it’s easy to see why anything associated with “Honest Abe” sees long lasting demand from collectors.
The legacy of Abraham Lincoln, however, would only have increased had he lived. The current racial and socioeconomic turmoil of the US, some argue, has its roots in the failure of Reconstruction, which was partly a byproduct of a post-war America without Lincoln at the reins. If Lincoln had been able to fulfill the remainder of his second term as president, he would likely be as strongly remembered, if not more so, for his post-war actions as he is for his leadership during the US Civil War.
Consequently, while the number of historical documents and other artifacts associated with Abraham