John Wilkes Booth letter leads Lincoln auction

A signed letter from John Wilkes Booth headlined a sale of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia at Heritage Auctions in Dallas on January 24 with a final bid of $30,000.

Wilkes Booth letter
Booth wrote the letter to a friend in 1861

The letter is addressed to close friend Joseph Simmons and dates to 1861, four years before Booth assassinated Lincoln at Ford's Theater in Washington, DC. 

It reads in part: "I know you will forgive me for not answering yours of Sept. 13th till this distant date, but I am, at the best of times, the worst letter writer in the world, but for the last month I have been so closely occupied with so many business letters to answer, that I really had to forego the pleasure (and I assure you it is one,) of writing to you.

"However, my pen is now in hand to assure you that I have not forgotten you or any of my good friends in Boston."

Simmons served as Booth's business manager from 1861, a role he took on full time in 1864. He would later appear as a character witness during the 1865 trial.

After the trial an attempt was made to expunge Booth from history - including the destruction of much of his correspondence. This made specimens of his signature exceptionally rare.

A lock of Lincoln's hair taken after his death also sold well, achieving $25,000.

Please sign up to our free newsletter to receive exciting news about memorabilia auctions.

Featured products

Napoleon Bonaparte signed noteNapoleon Bonaparte signed note
Napoleon Bonaparte signed note
Sale price£3,995
In stock