Abraham Lincoln's life mask to exceed $15,000 estimate?

A rare plaster cast of Abraham Lincoln's life mask is expected to see strong results as part of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' April 10 auction of Fine Books and Manuscripts.

Abraham Lincoln life mask
Mills' mask covers the president's entire head, whereas Volk's only covered the face

The sale is headlined by American history items, with the mask of the president's face estimated at $10,000-15,000. Lincoln sat for two life masks during his presidency, this being the example made by sculptor Clark Mills.

Mills' mask is the only example of the two that covers Lincoln's entire head, as Leonard Volk left the back open on his example.

Mills achieved the complete mask by covering the president's head with a cap, coating his beard and face with oil, before applying a thin coat of plaster. It was then shattered and reassembled to create a perfect likeness.

An example of the Clark Mills mask is currently housed in the Smithsonian, while another sold at Treadway Toomey in 2012 for $32,500, indicating that the present mask, which has never appeared at auction, may well exceed its estimate.

The lead lot of the sale is a letter sent by George Washington to the governor of New York, George Clinton, on July 30, 1782.

The letter shows Washington's concern for General Marinus Willett's command of the Mohawk Valley, a strategic point on the revolutionary war battle lines.

It is estimated at $50,000-70,000, due to the rarity of letters relating to Washington's military campaigns.

This George Washington autographed lottery ticket was signed by the soon-to-be president in 1768. We also have authentic strands of his hair and wallpaper from Abraham Lincoln's home.


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