Abraham Lincoln's last sitting negative realises $35,250


A rare collodion glass negative from Abraham Lincoln's last sitting starred in a June 21 sale of American History.

Abraham Lincoln last sitting negative alexander gardner
The sale highlights the importance of clear, strong provenance

The images from the sitting were originally thought to be the last quality photographs taken of the president, although this was later disproved by a shot of Lincoln taken on the White House balcony on March 6, 1865, just over a month before he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC.

The negative, which was assumed to be lost, was likely taken on February 5, 1865, at what is widely considered to be the president's last actual sitting. The famous images were taken at the studio of Alexander Gardner, a Scottish photographer renowned for his iconic shots of the president and classic depictions of the American civil war.

While the negative may have provided the highest bids in the sale, it failed to meet its pre-sale valuation of $40,000-60,000, due to doubts over whether it really is the original, long-lost Gardner negative. It eventually sold for $35,250, highlighting the importance of strong provenance when investing in collectibles.

Investors will have the chance to bid on a truly remarkable Abraham Lincoln document on June 26, when his Emancipation Proclamation is expected to bring $2.4m.

Paul Fraser Collectibles' own unique Abraham Lincoln stock item comes with impeccable provenance, originating from the only home the president ever owned. Click here to find out more.

Elsewhere in the sale, a rare menu from the 1941 Atlantic Conference, signed by all attendees, including Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt, sold for $21,150 against an estimate of $20,000-25,000. It was at the conference, on board the USS flagship Augusta, that the Allies drafted their agreed goals for restoration following the second world war.

We currently have this autographed menu from Charles Lindbergh on offer, signed at the banquet held to honour his heroic flight across the Atlantic in 1927.


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