Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Wilkes Booth signed copy of Rifles and Rifle Practice

    John Wilkes Booth Signed Copy of Rifles and Rifle Practice, by C.M. Wilcox. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1859. First edition. Twelvemo, viii, 276 pages. With five foldout diagrams, along with numerous illustrations and charts throughout. Green cloth covered boards with gilt stamped image of a soldier on the front cover and gilt lettering on spine. Signed by Booth on the inside front cover, "John Wilkes Booth, May 10th 1861." Inscribed less than one month after the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter, one could infer that Booth purchased this book as a direct result of the beginning of the Civil War. Although Booth was a non-combatant in the war, being a successful professional stage actor, he was pathologically devoted to the Confederate cause and yearned to strike a blow on Dixie's behalf. Arkansas and Tennessee has seceded just four days prior, on May 6, 1861, and Jefferson Davis had declared the Confederacy was in an official state of war with the United States. Booth would go on to express his vehement dissatisfaction with the South's defeat in the Civil War and Lincoln's proposal to extend voting rights to freed slaves. His fanciful schemes culminated, of course, in the very real assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In hindsight, numerous topics within the book, such as firing at "Point Blank", "Line of Sight", "Line of Fire", and "Dangerous Space", ominously foreshadow the tragic event that would soon send a war-torn nation reeling, ushering in one of the darkest and tumultuous periods in American history.

    Accompanying the signed book is a John Wilkes Booth Cabinet Card, measuring 4.25" x 6.5", circa 1860s, with no imprint. Booth is seen seated in a Gothic-style chair, resting his chin on his hand. There is also a Booth and His Associates Carte de Visite, measuring 2.5" x 4", circa 1865, with no photo studio imprint. A small portrait of Booth, surrounded by portraits of the men who were convicted of being conspirators in Lincoln's assassination. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.

    Condition: The book is worn at the edges, spine, and corners, and there are some small areas of soiling. Corners are bumped. Sunning to spine. Toning and light foxing throughout inner pages. Fold out diagrams are creased, with some tears that have been repaired with archival material. Signature is clear and bold. The CDV and cabinet card are toned throughout, else good.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,366

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Oct 26, 2019 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 October 9 Americana & Political Signature Auction Featuring the Michael Ward Collection - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search