Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Rare Find

I love watching Antiques Roadshow to see what people show up with, especially the ones who have purchased their finds at yard sales for a fraction of what the item is worth. Case in point: in 2006, a man by the name of Bruce Steiner purchased a box of papers from a flea market for $27.95. Inside, he discovered an envelope with these words written on it: "Let this man enter with this note." It is dated April 14, 1865, and signed, "A. Lincoln." The note was signed the same day Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Skeptical at first, Steiner, who is an avid Civil War buff, decided to get the note analyzed, and discovered that the handwriting seemed to be genuine. However, he ran into obstacles when historical societies refused to acknowledge his discovery. He continued to pursue the note's authenticity, and sent it to a handwriting expert, who confirmed that the handwriting seems to be that of President Lincoln himself. The estimated value is $120,000.

It's amazing how things like this keep resurfacing. In 1954, an old photograph showing Lincoln at Gettysburg, taken by Mathew Brady, was discovered at the National Archives. This year, old photographs have constantly been discovered in long-forgotten places, as well as manuscripts, letters, and even a watch with an inscription inside. Because this is Lincoln's 200th birthday year, artifacts relating to him are of special interest. If only I could be so lucky as to make an amazing discovery like that! It would be like finding hidden treasure.

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