The Matthew Brady studio chair has sold for $449,000 at Bonhams New York, beating an estimate of $250,000 by 79.6%.
Five US presidents and a host of generals, writers and other notable figures have been photographed in the chair.
This includes the iconic series of Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad taken in 1864.
The chair was built by the New York based furniture house Bembe & Kimbel for the House of Representatives in 1857.
It's believed to have been gifted to Brady by Lincoln himself.
Madelia Ring, a spokeswoman for Bonhams, explained: "There is perhaps no other single object that connects with so many important people, all prominent figures in 19th-century American history.
"What also gives the Brady chair such distinction, is that while other commissioned chairs occasionally surface at auction, those bearing the stamp of Bembe & Kimbel are rare."
Brady opened his studio in 1844 and quickly became one of the biggest names in the business.
In all he photographed 18 of the 19 presidents who lived during his lifetime (the exception was William Henry Harrison, who died before Brady's business opened).
During the civil war era he employed a team of photographers, including Alexander Gardner, to capture the atmosphere of the battlefields.
These images are now considered among the greatest treasures of their era, but cost a fortune to produce and ended up bankrupting Brady's studio.
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