I Cannot Tell a Lie...This Lincoln Autograph is Real!

Back east in Ohio, an expert at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library said a guy in town that found a Lincoln signature at a fleamarket, may have gotten the real deal. And, to top that off, it might be the last signature Lincoln ever did. It was on a program for the theatre at the show he was at the night he was killed.

Okay, I made those last few sentences up just to see if you were paying attention.

This guy bought a bunch of papers in 2006 in South Amherst, 30 miles southwest of Cleveland (the home of my mothers birth). The letter he found said "Let this man enter with this note. April 14, 1865." and it's signed with his usual "A.Lincoln."

The date is the day he was shot.

John Lupton is the guy that did the handwriting analysis, and he's involved in a project to preserve Lincoln's papers at the library in Springfield, Illinois. He said the signature is geniuine, because of the various characteristics.

At this point, I'm a bit skeptical. It just seems so odd that it is dated for the day he died. I find that so hard to believe, as it would clearly make this signature worth so much more.

It would easily fetch over $20,000.

The guy who bought it at the flea market paid $20 for all the papers.

But what I want to know is this. Why did it take so long for him to show his find? And, what are the other papers he bought? So many people claim to find a Jackson Pollock painting in a salvation army store. Or an Emily Dickenson poem in a trash bin.

Well...why would the person selling these "papers" not carefully look through them?

As of now, the story doesn't pass the smell test with me.

But the experts are getting excited, so it's no reason for me to be a party pooper.

Views: 85

Comment by Robert Babb on August 24, 2009 at 3:44pm
That is just like a few months back i read somewhere that a person found a Martin Luther King Junior signed book at a goodwill or salvation army store. It was supposed to be real but what are your thoughts?
Comment by Josh Board on August 24, 2009 at 11:07pm
I think I was the one that covered that story! I was interviewing a photographer in San Diego about some concert story I was working on. And I noticed at the studio he had at his house, it was covered with autographed pictures. Mostly from bands that he had photographed, but a few from bigger bands like The Ramones. Anyway, he said "If you're interested in autographs, I have a story for you." And he told me about this book. I saw the signature, and it is definitely real. A nice ballpoint pen signature in the style I've seen Kings signature before. And, he goes to libraries and salvation army stores, looking for records and books. But, he was actually working part-time at that library, and saw it in the dollar book bin. Yikes, that is some luck.
Comment by DC on August 30, 2009 at 8:48am
I live within an hour of the flea market in question. Its called "Jaimes Flea Market." I have been there on numerous occasions, and can tell you it is the slums as far as flea markets are concerned. The people who sell there are there EVERY weekend, and sell mostly rusted out old nails, car fenders, and other buckets of garbage. There are two parts to this flea market. An inside portion where every seller has a cuby packed to the gills in mismosh "antiques" (meaning broken Barbie dolls, Elvis photos laqered on wood, and of course the fake WWII German stuff), and outside spots where you find the rusted nails. I find it very difficult, if not impossible to believe that this is a legit signature. I have never seen a person selling a "box of paper" there who did not go through it with a fine too comb, and charge outrageously for it.

Example: One seller there not only had every scrap of paper sitting on his table labled, and priced, but the "historical papers" in question were only faded old car registrations????

Come on..........an Abraham Lincoln sitting in an old box where these sellers did not go through them.....BS! Don't misunderstand my thoughts here on lucky finds, I have had my share of incredible luck, but being that I know the types of sellers at this flea market, and have been there many times, I seriously doubt that the owner of the Lincoln note is telling the truth. Why now? Why not when it was found.....hhhmmmmm.....perhaps because Lincoln is hot right now with his new penny etc? Who knows. Sounds like the forger Mark Hoffman all over again to me. Also note that the current owner has refused to allow a forensic test on the item in qustion, and was very quick to say to the press "I am not selling it....!" Just my thoughts on the issue.
Comment by Josh Board on August 30, 2009 at 1:02pm
I agree with you complete, DC. I always tell people, that stories have to pass the "smell test". And this one didn't, for all the reasons you say (although, I did laugh when you said "Lincoln is hot right now...with the new penny"). I think someone of historical significance like Lincoln, doesn't really go thru ebbs and flows like that. He'd always be a signature people want. Sometimes someone like Warhol, Bisquiet (sp?) Dali, or some artist will have a movie about them, and then yes, a bit of a spike in the interest on that person. But I don't think that happens with a President like Washington, Lincoln, or Kennedy. Those Presidents will always have the same level of interest, even if a stamp comes out, a new coin, or whatever.

That is interesting you described the flea market that way. It's one of the reasons I'll still go into antique stores, because it can be fun. But I don't expect to find some deal. I just like to look at old jukeboxes, radios, and an occasional signed autographed photo of someone like Bob Hope, that's personalized. And the seller thinks it's worth $550!!!
Comment by DC on August 30, 2009 at 4:41pm
Don't get me wrong. I go to flea markets all the time, this one however really is a dump with little interesting booths, at least for me. The penny thing was a joke, I thought it would fall right. I agree with you, just too much of this story simply does not add up to me. Could it be authentic, and the story a lie...possibly. Or maybe just another in a long line of forgeries.

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