Abraham Lincoln's opera glasses to make $700,000 at auction?

A pair of opera glasses used by Abraham Lincoln could bring $700,000 in an auction on April 30, 2012.


Abraham Lincoln Opera glasses John Wilkes Booth
The opera glasses owned by Abraham Lincoln



The glasses were owned by the president, and were used by him on the night he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865. Lincoln was enjoying a comedy entitled Our American Cousin, when Booth, a Confederate sympathiser, gained entry to his box and shot him in the back of the head. 

The glasses have remained in the family of Captain James McCamly for decades since the incident. McCamly served as commander of the honour guard that was part of Lincoln's funeral procession and was present at the shooting, having picked up the glasses as they fell from the president's body. 

"They are very well documented. We have James McCamly's military records and a notarized letter from the McCamly's family as well," said the auction house's Laura Yntema. 

The item encapsulates one of the most important nights in American history and is sure to provide the focal point of the auction for presidential collectors. The item has been seen at auction before however, with an identical estimate of $500,000-700,000 at Sotheby's in June 2011. 

Lincoln memorabilia usually achieves excellent results at auction. A pair of the president's spectacles brought $61,174 at an auction of presidential memorabilia in March. 

Paul Fraser Collectibles has these fragments of the original wallpaper from the only house the president ever owned.

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