Authentic Lincoln Papers Are Always in Demand
The Cartier bracelet worn by Wallis, Duchess of Windsor at her wedding to the former Edward VIII recently sold for $601,250 at Sotheby’s London.
Q: My family has a letter handwritten by
A: How about starting at the very top with experts at the
Open to the public, the facility houses materials relating to state history. It also has a trove of Lincolniana, including more than 1,600 Lincoln letters. A staff of experts there studies material related to the 16th President. And, all are eager to find new Lincoln material.
Of the reader's inquiry,
But his next sentence was, "However, there are even more forgeries and fakes."
The library receives about 50 inquiries a year on possible Lincoln papers. On average, perhaps two to four turn out to be legit.
As a lawyer and president, Lincoln conducted "lots of correspondence," adds Cornelius.
One of his most celebrated notes is widely thought to be the Mrs. Bixby letter, written to the mother of boys who died fighting for the Union. Authorship of the original is an ongoing dispute, and, according to Cornelius, the original was lost in 1864. Facsimile copies have been printed since 1890, and they are printed and sold to this day.
After the letter was read in the film, "Saving Private Ryan," the library received inquiries from people who hoped they had an original. Today, Bixby letter versions and the many fake Lincoln "handwritten" Gettysburg Addresses in circulation are each worth about
Lincoln signatures on officers' commissions, along with that of Secretary of War
Then there's the
But, as Cornelius put it, "since no one except me and a man in
In charge of the library's ambitious Papers of
"We are trying to identify and digitize all documents written or signed by
A caveat: Authentic Lincoln papers bring huge prices on the open market. Once sold, they are usually lost to the public. As a state agency, the library can render an opinion, but will not provide value.
FYI: To submit material for a look, scan (in color) or photocopy the document. A high-resolution digital photo works, too. Those processes do not damage the original. "We photocopy everything we have at least once," says Cornelius.
"Whether it's a letter from Aunt Sally or
According to Stowell, a good digital image tells: a) If the paper is a bad forgery, b) If it is a photocopy of an already archived original, and c) If document details jibe with known historical evidence.
Please let us know what happens!
MORE: We send best wishes for peace, love, good health, and happiness in the coming year to all readers. You are the best, and I appreciate you!
AUCTION ACTION: Iconic pieces of jewelry tend to bring astounding prices. That fact goes a long way toward explaining why a simple bracelet with nine diamond crosses brought
Formerly in the collection of Wallis, Duchess of
Q: In older (before 1970) Zuni jewelry, what mythological figure with wings covered in flint blades swoops down from the sky to carry off Zuni maidens? What figure is associated with precious summer rains? For bonus points: What do the figures have in common?
A: The first is Knifewing. The second is Rainbow Man. Neither is a Kachina. Source: "Knifewing and Rainbow Man in Zuni Jewelry," by
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(c) 2010 Danielle Arnet