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Unpublished Lincoln Documents Discovered: The Prairie File and Abe’s African Dream in Jan. 6 NY Auction

Two unpublished groups of Lincoln-related documents will appear at a Yonkers, N.Y. auction on Jan. 6, 2015.

YONKERS, N.Y., Dec. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — A group of eight Illinois manuscripts, signed by Lincoln in 1842, begins just two years after receiving his law license. Other signers include James Matheny, best man at Lincoln’s wedding that year, best friend Joshua Speed, and Stephen A. Douglass, future opponent for the Presidency.

This Prairie-years case, in which Abe represented a defaulting Springfield Mayor, is the earliest and largest Lincoln file to reach the market in at least 35 years. (Pre-sale estimate $10,000-14,000.) Quick link http://cohascodpc.com/auction-presidential.html.

Offered separately: an archive of 44 letters of Lincoln’s heroic emissary sent to Africa to break the transatlantic slave trade. Writing from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and other locales, abolitionist Abraham Hanson of Wisconsin tells of the arriving stream of newly-freed black American children. The first permanent diplomat in sub-Saharan Africa, Hanson describes disease-wracking Liberia. In an 1864 letter, the clergyman pens, “I am perfectly willing to sacrifice my life” to help Liberians stake “their just claims to the universal brotherhood of man.” Once beloved throughout Liberia but now forgotten, the 170-page collection includes Hanson’s last letter to his wife before his own death from African fever, in 1866. (Estimate $9,000-12,000.) Quick link http://cohascodpc.com/auction-ending-slave-trade.html.

Among 500 other historical documents and collectibles in 27 categories:

  • A Baltimore reward poster for a successful named escapee via the Underground Railroad, 1857. In black fugitive Adam’s memoir, he described his former master as “a real country ruffian…a great drinker and gambler….” Underground Railroad lore is abundant, but original documents almost never come to market ($8,500-11,500). Quick link http://cohascodpc.com/auction-black-history.html.
  • A battle sword which witnessed Francis Scott Key’s “rocket’s red glare” in the dawn’s early light of Sept. 1814. From the possession of citizen-soldier John Howlet of Maryland, the sword was in use when he was shot (but survived). ($1250-1750)
  • Thomas Jefferson signed document protecting America’s frontier, 1792, as the first Secretary of State. His signed Act embraces several firsts in America’s history – including the first Presidential Cabinet, and first-ever Congressional investigations. ($28,000-35,000)
  • Civil War newspaper seeking trial of the President “for his numerous unconstitutional acts…The States alone declare who are their citizens.” ($75-100)
  • Postcard flown on Russia’s ultimate world adventure – their attempted 4,600-mile nonstop Moscow-New York flight, 1939. It crashed in Canada. ($1900-2750)
  • Rare pay receipt for black soldier Cato Negro’s service in the Revolutionary War. The Connecticut freedom fighter likely took his name from the play “Cato” – inspiring Patrick Henry’s words, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” ($3900-4500)

Bids will be accepted up to January 6, 2015, 8:00 P.M. E.D.S.T. All items are fully described at http://cohascodpc.com. A 168-page printed catalogue is available by mail.


About Cohasco, Inc.

Established 68 years, Cohasco is a dealer in and auctioneer of historical documents, manuscripts, books, antiquarian materials and collectibles. Over the years they have handled the sale of numerous prominent collections, in a range of fields, from colonial to Confederate, mediaeval to modern. Past highlights included the lamps that illuminated Lincoln’s wedding, an archive of America’s first “mass-produced” automobile, the Duryea, and the Bible owned by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s mother, setting a world record price for a twentieth-century Bible.

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