An original copy of Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation realised an impressive $2.1m in New York yesterday (June 26).
Lincoln's history-changing document was snapped up by billionaire David Rubenstein, co-founder of the investment firm Carlyle Group.
In an interview with Newsday following the sale Rubenstein explained: "I am a person who believes that Americans should know more about their history and how that history brought us enormous freedoms."
The Emancipation Proclamation was created by Lincoln in 1863, in order to free the slaves held within the 10 rebellious states that opposed his Union forces. An act of heroic bravery, the proclamation was not a law passed by congress, but an order issued by Lincoln as commander in chief of the Army and Navy, a role which gave him martial power to suspend civil law in the Confederate states.
"This document demonstrates with a stroke of the pen Lincoln's courage to do something no other president had done to lead a process toward the end of slavery," added Rubenstein. "He deserves to be remembered."
Approximately 26 of the 48 copies issued are known to survive, each of them signed by Lincoln to aid Union troops as they advanced on the rebel forces. Following the Union victory, they were donated by the president to the Sanitary Commission, who sold the documents privately to provide medical care for troops wounded in the war.
Despite the impressive sum paid for the document yesterday, it was not the most expensive copy of the Emancipation Proclamation to be sold at auction. In 2010, Robert Kennedy's personal copy of the proclamation sold for $3.8m at Sotheby's, boosted by its significant provenance.
David Rubenstein has said that the document will go on display in Washington DC, although the exact institution has yet to be decided. An avid collector of rare manuscripts, Rubenstein paid more than $20m for an original copy of the Magna Carta in 2007 and recently purchased a copy of the Declaration of Independence, which is soon to be exhibited at the New York Historical Society.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has this superb and unique Abraham Lincoln item currently in stock - an opportunity investors won't want to miss. We also have a stunning 1848 copy of the Declaration of Independence, a document whose importance far surpasses Lincoln's proclamation.