Many Pennies

Signed Lincoln Photo Sets Auction Record

A signed photograph of Abraham Lincoln went for a record $85,000 at Freeman’s auctioneers in Philadelphia on Jan. 19. In a rare circumstance, the picture features the 16th president standing in 1863 in Washington D.C., just two years before he was assassinated. Freeman’s book specialist, David Bloom saw something special in the photo, as did its many alleged prospective buyers. “We had enormous interest from around the world,” he said. “It was finally bought for what I believe may be a record price for a photograph of a U.S. President.” The picture came from an album of over 60 portraits of prominent Union political and military figures that sold in the same auction for $12,000—including signed photos of U.S. Army General Winfield Scott, one of Lincoln’s Secretary of State William H. Seward, and another of Lincoln’s Secretary of Navy, Gideon Welles. Bloom says the photographs came to Freeman’s after being passed down through “the family of a wealthy New York political figure who came to prominence in the 19th century.”