With the US Presidential Election Day November 8th, Borro has been inspired to take a look at the most expensive Presidential memorabilia to ever be sold. It becomes clear that both Abraham Lincoln and George Washington commemorations are particularly valuable, so let’s find out why.
- George Washington’s Constitution Letter – $3,218,500
In 1787, George Washington wrote to his nephew Bushrod Washington, where he discusses the proposed new US constitution. This is actually the most expensive Washington letter ever sold at auction. Why? Well in the letter, Washington openly expresses his passion and support for the Constitution that shaped the foundation of the county’s government. Therefore, it was sold at Christie’s in 2009 for $3,218,500.
- Abraham Lincoln’s Letter Regarding Slavery $3,401,000
In 1864 Lincoln wrote to Mrs. Mary Peabody Mann discussing a petition to abolish child slavery. This letter is significant as it marks the beginning of the anti-slavery movement. Horace Mann, Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, originally got in touch with President Lincoln by sending him a petition signed by 195 school children to get rid of child slavery. The petition was soon dubbed the “Little Peoples Petition”. In his reply, Lincoln informs Mrs. Horace that only God has the power to grant what they ask. Two years later, slavery was abolished in the United States. The letter sold in 2008 at Sotheby’s for $3,401,000.
- Abraham Lincoln’s Victory Speech $3,442,500
In 1864, a manuscript of Lincoln’s Election Day speech was delivered from the window of the White House. The speech was given 2 days after he was re-elected for his second term, and is considered to be one of Lincolns most important Presidential addresses. 145 years later, it was sold at Christie’s in 2009 for $3,442,500.
- Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation $3,778,500
In 1863 Lincoln signed a paper declaring the freedom of slaves. It was a key turning point in history for the United States to develop into what it is today. The abolishment of slavery is probably what Lincoln is known for best, so it is no surprise that this document sold for $3,778,500 at Sotheby’s in 2010.
- George Washington’s Copy of the Constitution $9,826,500
George Washington had his own copy of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other key documents of the first Congress in 1789. The Constitution and Bill of Rights included his personal bookplate and signature. The extreme importance of these documents along with their ownership by America’s first President explains why it sold for $9,826,500 by Christie’s in 2012.
So there we have it, the top 5 most expensive pieces of American Presidential Memorabilia. And who knows, perhaps whoever we decide to elect this term could add to the list.