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    Abraham Lincoln: An Important & Evocative Collection of Assassination-Related Artifacts.
    An amazing group of items from and related to the railroad car which carried the body of the Martyred President on its circuitous two-week trip from the Capitol to its final resting place in Springfield, Illinois. Over two weeks, the train would pass through 180 cities in seven states on a planned schedule so that people could arrange to watch it pass by and pay their respects. There were stops in major cities like Philadelphia and New York, where Lincoln's body was removed from the train for a brief time to lie in state.

    The train bore not only Lincoln's coffin, but that of his beloved son Willie who had died in 1862, whose body had been disinterred in Washington so that it could be buried alongside his father's. The two coffins rode in a black-draped railway car which had been built as the President's personal railway car - the Air Force One of its day - which Lincoln did not get the opportunity to use while alive. The opulent car was quickly refitted for its somber purpose. One of the workers on that project was Myron H. Lamson, an enlisted man in the Union army who would go on to serve as Sergeant of the Honor Guard for the car. Lamson had been the assistant foreman when the car was constructed, it is believed by order of Edwin Stanton. He would have been a logical choice to assist in its conversion and, in the process, he became drawn into the surrounding events which he vividly describes in a substantial 4-page letter written to his wife during the days following the assassination. This letter, the original of which is included with the lot, opens with reference to the commotion in the streets of Alexandria, Virginia where he was stationed, the night of April 15, 1865. In another portion, he describes his assignment to procure for the funeral 1000 portrait badges of Lincoln and a like number of black crepe armbands. The badges were delivered to the Finance Committee which planned to sell them for 50-cents each "to defray the cost of the material". He promises to send his wife one of the badges which he describes as bearing the image and name of the President and the initials U.S.M.R.R. [United States Military Railroad], the contingent of which Lamson would be a part as Lincoln's body was conveyed from the Capitol to to the funeral train. Lawson's own example of that badge is included as part of this auction lot. He reports having obtained a "regimental flag of silk and draping it in black crepe. The cost was $850, a very substantial sum in those days. He reports that he obtained 91 yards of black ribbon as well as 55 yards of black crepe. During the next two days he labored on the railway car, but found time to go to the White House to "see the last remains of one of the best men that ever lived." Lamson waited two hours to get through the gate. Some of the time [he] "was so crowded that both feet were off the ground and [he] thought [he] should suffocate." He wrote of the President, "He looked very natural, but dark."

    Lamson describes in detail the solemn funeral procession and advises his wife that the train will probably pass through Syracuse (where she resided) on Wednesday night between 12:00 and 2:00, and that "you can probably see the car if nothing more. It will de draped in black..." He concludes his poignant missive with the refection that "Just four years ago today the first blood was shed in Baltimore (in the riots there), the commencement of this bloody rebellion." Lamson laments that "...we can say that this has been a month of the greatest joy and the greatest sorrow to the nation." This remarkable letter, posted from Alexandria on April 20, 1865, provides the connecting thread for the accompanying relics. These consist of:

    1) The aforementioned silk mourning badge which Lamson had described in detail.
    2) Three silver metallic thread tassels and an 8" x 8.5" section of cloth used to make the black draperies for the railway car.
    3) Artifacts Lamson had collected, including Bull Run battlefield pick-ups and pieces of wood from General Robert E. Lee's night-stand.
    4) Most remarkably, a stunning porcelain and brass dual-handle door-knob from the railway car. Although Lamson left no detailed information, we theorize that this door-knob, perhaps thought insufficiently funereal, had been part of the original Presidential Car, but was changed out for something more somber. Sadly, the railway car was destroyed by fire in 1911, making this door-knob quite likely the only surviving relic from the car's interior portion or inner sanctum.
    5) A 1908 postcard made from a photo of the funeral car, supposedly taken by Brady, showing Sgt. Lamson standing on the rear platform. The cards were created by Lamson Brothers Department Store, owned by Myron's family, for distribution at a 1908 G.A.R. convocation.

    These items have descended through Lamson's family and are accompanied by a Letter of Provenance from the attorney assigned to handle the disposition of these items for the current steward. Also included is additional independent confirmation of the involvement of Myron Lamson with the Lincoln railway car. Heritage has offered many fine relics related to the Lincoln assassination over the years, but this grouping surely ranks as one of the most fascinating and well-documented.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    4th-5th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,235

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