Lincoln Memorabilia Certified by CAG Recalls Key Moments in US History

Posted on 3/29/2022

Artifacts connected to “The Great Emancipator” are elevated with a guarantee of authenticity.

Abraham Lincoln, who served as the 16th president of the United States, is inarguably one of the most iconic figures in American history. From his early days as a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, to his successful efforts to preserve the Union during the US Civil War, Lincoln’s life is celebrated around the world as a model of one committed to public service and American ideals.

Not surprisingly, Lincoln memorabilia has long been sought after and cherished. When proven to be authentic, even the most unlikely artifacts connected in some way to “The Great Emancipator” have come to be considered valuable collectibles.

Collectibles Authentication Guaranty™ (CAG®) has certified and encapsulated several pieces of Lincoln memorabilia, including one relic that was present at the signing of the famed Emancipation Proclamation and another from when Lincoln was a Springfield lawyer. University Archives is offering these and other Lincoln items certified and encapsulated by CAG as part of several upcoming auctions. To view the sales presented by University Archives, click here.

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One of the CAG-certified items is a piece of wood from the room where Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The wood fragment was taken from a larger piece attached with red, white and blue ribbons to a note that identified it as having been presented to Mr. H. E. Bates by “his friend” Lt. Col. William M. Palmer in June 1912. The note identifies the wood as being from “the room where President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and used as a private office by the Presidents since Jefferson's time.”

Lincoln served as president from 1861 to 1865, during which time the American Civil War threatened to divide the nation. The Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by Lincoln to grant freedom to slaves in the Confederate states that were rebelling against the US federal government. Lincoln was assassinated shortly after the end of the Civil War.

Lt. Col. Palmer was a member of the staff of Major General William J. Sewell, who served as an officer in the Union Army during the Civil War and as a US Senator after the war. The room referred to in the note, which was originally designed to be a bedroom, was used by Lincoln as an office and Cabinet room during his presidency. It has been known since 1945 as the Lincoln Bedroom, although history tells us that Lincoln never slept in the room.

Another CAG-certified item is a piece of oak lathing from the building in Springfield, where Lincoln and his law partner William H. Herndon kept their law office. The building was partially demolished in 1872, but the office formerly used by Lincoln was preserved. In 1985, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency took control of the building, which is now known as the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site.

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Lincoln served as a lawyer in Springfield for more than a decade, where many of his cases were related to issues resulting from the expansion of railroads into western states. Historians say that Lincoln earned the nickname “Honest Abe” because of the integrity that he showed as an attorney.

The provenance for the oak lathing includes an Affidavit of Authenticity signed by Robert B. Oxtoby, who was part of a group that purchased and restored the building in the 1960s. The affidavit states that the wood “was a part of the original structure built in 1840 and removed at the time of reconstruction in 1968.”

CAG’s expert services are available to collectors, estates, artists and museums seeking to preserve the authenticity and provenance of memorabilia and estate items. By using CAG’s unique process, holders and expertise for certification and encapsulation, collectors can have greater confidence in the authenticity of their items, which results in a safer and more vibrant marketplace.

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