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    Description

    Abraham Lincoln: Piece of Brooks Brothers Overcoat Worn at Ford's Theatre with Bonus. This lot has two relics that were displayed together from the time of their original acquisition. Since they have been kept together from "day one", we are offering them as a single lot. They were housed in a small frame (present, but the broken glass cover has been discarded) along with caption cards. The first one is a 4" x 2.5" section of bark described as "A piece of Birch Taken from Chief Blackhawks' [sic] Canoe." This has some significance in Lincoln's career, as his only period of military service was in the Blackhawk War of 1832. The second item is an 1.5" x 1" piece of multi-layered fabric described as a "Piece Taken from Coat Abe Lincoln Wore The Night, He Was Assassinated." The frame was purchased by the consignor approximately 30 years ago from an antique shop. The proprietor had obtained it at an Iowa estate sale, but knew nothing about it or its provenance.

    Note: Please see our extended description on our website for more information about his research and the findings.


    More Information:

    In an effort to validate his purchase, the new owner spent a great deal of his time researching the relic. Lincoln's "great coat" he wore to Ford's Theatre on the night of the assassination was given by Mrs. Lincoln to White House doorman Alphonse Dunn. During his stewardship of the garment, part of the collar and practically the entire left sleeve was cut up into souvenir swatches. The coat eventually was purchased and donated to the Ford's Theatre Museum where it now resides.

    The 4-ply fabric swatch conforms to other examples still extant. The lot includes a highly-detailed 13-page report with 14 pages of photo enlargements from textile expert Randall R. Bresee of the University of Tennessee, dated August 16, 1996. The report concludes that the fragment is of the right age and of the highest quality of workmanship... the same quality that one would expect from a custom order from Brooks Brothers. "Materials provided... indicated that the swatch could have originated from the coat which President Lincoln wore when he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre." A letter from National Park Service Superintendent Arnold Goldstein states "...we believe that the material is consistent with the fabrics found on the lining... of President Lincoln's coat." A letter from National Park Service textile conservator Jane Merritt indicates the swatch is not from the outside of the coat ("...you may have a piece of the lining... To learn if it could be from the lining will take more research into the archives at Brooks Brothers and into the materials of 19th century cloth production.") A letter from Frank Hebblethwaite, a Museum Technician at Ford's theatre, states "It is quite possible that you do have a piece of the overcoat worn by President Abraham Lincoln on the night of his assassination... The Donn collection of Lincoln's clothing, including the overcoat, has been exhibited in the museum at Ford's Theatre since 1968. What remains of the coat's left sleeve, its silk lining and 5 1/4" of the sleeve's outside wool fabric at the cuff, is in storage of our research collection." Additional letters and research material accompany the lot.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2017
    2nd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,087

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