Autographed Lincoln emancipation letter expected at $150,000

Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation rocked the auction world when it sold for $2.1m back in June, and now an autographed letter relating to the compensated emancipation of slaves will sell at Heritage Auctions on October 3.

Abraham Lincoln Emancipation letter autograph
Lincoln's letter was his second and final attempt at compensated emancipation

The brief letter has been signed "A Lincoln" and displays the president's early attempts to free the slaves of the United States. Dated March 5, 1862, it is addressed to secretary of state William H Seward and reads in full: "My dear sir please summon the cabinet to meet me here at 7 o' clock this evening".

Countersigned by Seward at the bottom, the letter also includes a separate note in an unknown hand: "The presidents message to congress, recommending compensated emancipation, to preserve the Union", which is dated March 6, 1862.

Lincoln first proposed the idea of compensating a slave owner for the loss of his slaves in the fall of 1861, but this was initially met with too much opposition. The letter at auction shows the president calling together his cabinet in preparation for his March 6, 1862 speech to convince congress for a second time, which again fell on deaf ears.

Following his signing of the District of Columbia's Compensated Emancipation Act, which ended slavery in Washington DC, Lincoln would take an even more radical measure. On July 22, 1862, he called together his cabinet for a final discussion on the subject, in which he would declare his intention to draft the famous Emancipation Proclamation, and therefore effectively ending slavery in the United States.

An important piece of the history of slavery, and fuelled by the recent sale of the Emancipation Proclamation, the letter is expected to bring $120,000-150,000 and provide the top lot in Heritage's sale. However, given the brief nature of the note, Paul Fraser Collectibles believe this to be an ambitious estimate - it is rare for a Abraham Lincoln autographed letter to achieve these results at auction.  

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a unique item of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia currently on offer - fragments of wallpaper from the bedroom of the only home he ever owned.

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