An 1860 Douglas campaign ribbon was the star lot of a sale of US political memorabilia at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on February 27.
It sold for a record $37,500.
Stephen "Little Giant" Douglas was Lincoln's chief opponent in the 1860 election. He was a formidable politician, having claimed victory against Lincoln in the Great Debates of 1858 - a feat that earned him his seat in the senate.
The ribbon is part of a set of four released for the election showing each candidate along with his vice president.
The Douglas and Johnson version is the rarest and most sought after.
Heritage comments: "Of the four 1860 Brady jugate ribbons, the Douglas & Johnson has always been of profound rarity.
"The present example, along with the accompanying three ribbons, came out of the amazing collection of a hitherto unknown California hobbyist in the mid-1970s.
"Until recent years it was considered the only known example. Two others have surfaced, both of which were discreetly sold privately to major collectors for prices reportedly approaching $20,000. This is the first appearance at auction.
"All four of the ribbons in the set offered here are in beautiful condition, but this one is the best- absolutely mint condition."
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