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Lot # 1415 (of 1641)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

1851 Abraham Lincoln Signed Land-Purchase Contract

Starting Bid - $1,000, Sold For - $4,740

Addendum: The printed catalog describes this document as twice-signed by Lincoln. After careful consideration of feedback from Lincoln scholars, and despite opinions to the contrary when this document has sold in the past, we believe the document is signed only once (in the body of the document). We believe the second "signature" found on the reverse is actually a Lincoln secretarial signature that is almost certainly in the hand of Lincoln's law partner John T. Stuart.

This two-page fold-over contract, dated October 6, 1851, has been filled out in the hand of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), sixteenth President of the United States, and contains a full Abraham Lincoln signature within the body of the text. The contract concerns the purchase of a tract of land in Bloomington, Illinois, by Abraham Lincoln from Levi and Lucy Ann Davis for the price of $325.08. Lincoln was a practicing attorney at the time of this land purchase, so it is not surprising that he personally handled its written execution. Although Lincoln, as the purchaser, was not required to officially sign the contract, he did sign his full name while recording the transaction. The signature is within the handwritten terms of the contract, where the full names of each party are recorded. A second "signature" that is secretarial (in the hand of Lincoln's law partner John T. Stuart) can be found atop the reverse docket listing the names of each party. All of the text has been scripted in black ink, with the Lincoln signature grading "10". The contract has officially been signed by the sellers, Levi and Lucy Ann Davis, as well as by their attorney, David Davis, John T. Stuart, as a witness, and the county clerk. Interestingly, both John T. Stuart and David Davis were instrumental in Lincoln's future political career. Stuart was Lincoln's law partner and one of his early legal and political mentors, while Davis helped orchestrate Lincoln's presidential election and was later repaid with a seat on the Supreme Court. The contract (15.5 x 12 inches; unfolded) displays normal vertical and horizontal folds, as well as a few minor surface blemishes, which do not detract in the least from its Excellent to Mint overall condition. Handsomely matted and framed, with the contract visible on both sides, to total dimensions of 24 x 21 inches. LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $1,000. Estimate $4,000+. SOLD FOR $4,740

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