Lincoln's chair helping today's slaves
This chair is part of an Abraham Lincoln collection up for auction.
February 15th, 2013
01:59 PM ET

Lincoln's chair helping today's slaves

Looking to add a conversation piece to your Oscar viewing party?

How about the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was reputedly sitting when he received the news he'd been nominated as the Republican candidate for president.

It's the star attraction in a collection of more than 50 historical documents, rare books, images and artifacts related to the 16th President of the United States currently up for bid on eBay.

Ten percent of the final sale price from the auction will support the U.S.-based international non-profit, Free the Slaves, which works with local communities across the globe to end modern-day forms of slavery.

But owning these pieces of American history won't come cheap. The starting bid is $1,000,000 but it comes with a guarantee the collection will be delivered to its new owner in time for the Oscars.

The seller, Seth Kaller, says the Bentwood hickory chair dates back to 1860. According to sources at the time, Lincoln was sitting in this chair when he received a telegram indicating his nomination.

In addition, the collection up for auction contains a first edition copy of the 1860 Lincoln-Douglass Debates, a first-day printing of the Gettysburg Address from the New York World newspaper and two handwritten letters; one opposing the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision that blacks could not become U.S. citizens, and another in which Lincoln argues for Arkansas to be a free-state. There is also a signed quotation from Frederick Douglass, in which he declares his vision of equality.

Sarah Gardner, Major Gifts Officer at Free the Slaves, said: "We are honored Mr. Kaller chose Free the Slaves to receive a portion of the proceeds from the auction. We see it as part of the continued promise to finish what Lincoln started and end slavery. We look at Lincoln as one of the greatest abolitionists in history and we see this event as celebrating his memory. So to be a part of that is really special."

Kaller, a dealer in American Historic Documents, says he timed this auction to coincide with the Oscars, in order to recruit novices into the field of collecting.

"I think a lot of people who have seen the movie may not know that these types of historical items actually exist on the market. One of the reasons we decided to put this collection up for auction on eBay is that we wanted to let people know these really important historical items are on the market and can be collected."

"Lincoln," the highly acclaimed biopic directed by Stephen Spielberg, leads the field with 12 Academy Award nominations, including best picture, best director and best actor. But Kaller insists Lincoln memorabilia is always a hot commodity among collectors.

"Lincoln material has always been popular," says Kaller. "A lot of people recognize him as either the number one or number two greatest presidents in our history. Lincoln is the one who put America back together after the Civil War. Without Lincoln the Declaration of Independence wouldn't mean nearly as much as it does today and without Lincoln America wouldn't be anywhere near the country it is today."

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order that took effect January 1st, 1863, during the American Civil War. The order proclaimed that all people enslaved in states that had seceded from the Union "are and henceforward shall be free."  It would take another two years, with the ratification of the 13th Amendment, for slavery to be deemed illegal everywhere in the U.S.

The auction closes February 18th at 11 a.m. ET.


soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. MR RICH QUEST: PANATAG

    doing every available steps possible before "semestral break" in our own little way lauthorities lend their helping hand as evidence of "ACCEPTANCE RECOGNITION" BEFORE & AFTER NOV 4 2012 AS PRESENTED IN NEW YEAR CALIF CELEBRATION

    February 15, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  2. MR RICH QUEST: FREEDOM INFORMATION ACT

    TM
    COCO MARTIN
    POP EYE OLIVE OYL ADAM & EVE

    February 15, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • MR RICH QUEST: LAURA CHURCH

      IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
      LAURA CHURCH
      +HOT DEAL
      +DUTIES LOCAL OFFICIALS TO RELAY/ENFORCE MANDATE & DECLARATIONS OF AUTHORITIES*
      +PROGRAMS OF AUTHORITIES DUE TO VARIOUS UNSETTLED,
      INCOMPLETE MULTI CULTURAL ISSUES*
      +local officials are not authorized to FORCE MEMBERS TO SHOULDER OTHER MISTAKES CRIMES!

      February 15, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Reply
      • Stop spamming, crazy guy

        Stop spamming, crazy guy

        February 16, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  3. MR RICH QUEST: FREEDOM INFORMATION ACT

    IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
    BRGY SAN JUAN
    MC ARTHUR HI WAY
    BALAGTAS BULACAN

    AN ACT TO STRENGTHEN THE RIGHT OF CITIZENSTO INFORMATION HELD BY THE GOVERNMENT.Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines inCongress assembled:
    JAZZ
    RIDGELINE
    AVANZA
    VIOS
    ELANTRA
    TUCZON
    SPARK
    RANGER
    ODYSSEY
    EQUINOX
    CROSSTOUR
    NAVIGATOR
    M BENZ E G CCLASS
    HIGHLANDER
    MAZDA CX
    CHALLENGER
    S60
    BEETLE
    LEGACY
    CROSSTREK
    ADVENTURE
    LEXUS IS 250
    MAZDA MX5 SUPER 25

    February 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Reply
  4. TheGreenMan

    It is a cunning commercial ploy to state that "some of the money" for it will be used to "free modern slaves". That gambit is aimed at wealthy do-gooders, however, how musch is "some" of the money? In percentage terms it may be a miniscule tranche comprised of very very little. If the chair is sold for $1M, will slaves get US$999,999? or more likely will they get a whopping total of ten bucks to spend between them? after auctioneers charges, sellers commission, buyer's commission, sales taxes and all the othe rake-offs have been deducted.

    February 15, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Reply
    • Howard

      The Lincoln-Douglas debates took place in 1858, not 1860 as stated in the article. Is that an error by the reporter or by the people putting that loot up for auction?

      As for the chair, when Lincoln was nominated he had to have been seen as a long shot to win the Presidency at the time. What are the odds that anyone seated with Lincoln when he received the news of his nomination said to themselves at the time, "Oooh! This man is going to be President during one of the bloodiest civil wars in history and will be revered as the man who saved the union and freed the slaves before being assassinated . I'd better make a list of things like that chair he's sitting on 'cause it's gonna be worth a lot of money some day."

      This whole thing smells really fishy.

      February 16, 2013 at 5:27 am | Reply
  5. Aristocles

    His chair should be in the Smithsonian, NOT on Ebay!

    February 15, 2013 at 11:37 pm | Reply
    • Ann

      Interesting

      February 16, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  6. Jim

    The Smithsonian can – and often does – bid.

    "Some of the money" is ten percent.

    "MR RICH QUEST"

    February 16, 2013 at 3:05 am | Reply
    • Jim

      and "MR RICH QUEST" needs to take his medicine

      February 16, 2013 at 3:06 am | Reply
  7. Al

    Why wouold anyone want this old chair, only good for firewood. Everything he tried to accomplish is falling apart, he only caused a horrible society over the years with 2 races fighting each other. Nody seems to have in love in the hearts or even triy to get along with each other. If we as adults cant get along then how can we teach our kids to play nice, we are horrible parents and citizens.

    February 16, 2013 at 6:56 am | Reply
  8. John

    Why should liberals care. Wasn't he just another dumb republican?

    February 16, 2013 at 7:38 am | Reply
    • Andrew

      Oh, he was a republican, but that was back when the republicans were the liberals and the democrats were the conservatives.... so Lincoln was a liberal.... (gasp!)

      February 20, 2013 at 7:08 am | Reply
  9. Buddy Bear

    How could he have brought the country back together after the Civil War when he was killed just days after the surrender at Appomatix Courthouse? Did I miss something?

    February 16, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply
  10. mykelkashy

    It's amazing how uninformed we (as Americans) are about our own history. We're so proud of Presidents like Lincoln and FDR without ever once looking at their actions and realizing they were indeed tyrants. In his first Inaugural Address Lincoln said he had no authority and no desire to interfere with slavery in the southern states. When Frederick Douglas met with Lincoln he said Lincoln had no problem in reminding him that he was black and once a slave. As with most wars and everything else in these days follow the money. England was going to finance the Confederacy as long as the war was not fought over slavery. Lincoln saw this simply a political move. Before you accuse me of being a conspiracy theorist I recommend you study economic history as opposed to "mainstream" history. The Ascent of Money by Niall Feguson is a very good start. But like I said, it's amazing how brainwashed we are and never hunger for the full truth.

    February 16, 2013 at 8:53 am | Reply
  11. empresstrudy

    Slaves....like in Mali among the VERY SAME people we're helping to eject al Qaeda from their country.

    Awkward.

    February 16, 2013 at 9:23 am | Reply
  12. N N Rowland

    its nice to have historical reflection like this. aimed to work against modern slavery not only in US. Its ok.

    February 16, 2013 at 11:32 am | Reply
  13. crane training

    Some really choice content on this site, saved to favorites . crane training http://crane-hire-uk.blogspot.co.uk/

    March 13, 2013 at 11:25 am | Reply
  14. Herb Florian

    In its earliest days, eBay was essentially unregulated. However, as the site grew, it became necessary to restrict or forbid auctions for various items. Note that some of the restrictions relate to eBay.com (the U.S. site), while other restrictions apply to specific European sites (such as Nazi paraphernalia). Regional laws and regulations may apply to the seller or the buyer. Generally, if the sale or ownership of an item is regulated or prohibited by one or more states, eBay will not permit its listing. `.

    Brand new brief article on our very own web blog
    <http://www.caramoan.ph/

    May 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Reply

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.