Sotheby's auctions Kennedy's $3.7m World Record political document

A new auction record has been set for a presidential document: a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln, and later purchased by Robert F Kennedy.

According to reports, the piece was sold Friday (December 10) for more than $3.7m; more than twice its $1.5m pre-sale estimate.

Kennedy, attorney general and closest advisor to this brother President John F Kennedy, is known to have bought the printed copy of the 1863 document (also at Sotheby's, for $9,500 in 1964) after its centennial celebration at the White House.

Declaring all slaves "forever free", it is one of 48 printed copies signed by Lincoln of which half are today known to have survived. The original is held in the National Archives. Elsewhere, 14 copies are in national archives and eight-to-10 are private owned.

The piece was sold at Sotheby's in New York, and reportedly went to an anonymous buyer. The consignor was Kennedy's widow, Ethel. Robert "Bobby" Kennedy was assassinated on June 6, 1968 - five years after his brother - while campaigning for president.

That the new World Record priced historic political document is signed by Abraham Lincoln will be of no surprise to seasoned autograph collectors. The previous record was also achieved by a Lincoln signed manuscript.

Lincoln's 1864 victory speech after his re-election as president was sold for $3,442,500 at Christie's in February 2009.


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