A presidential order signed by Lincoln is found decades after being locked in a desk

A letter from Abraham Lincoln, after decades of being locked up inside a private collector’s desk, has resurfaced.

According to WHYY, a letter signed by the late President “in the final hours of his life,” is now being offered for $45,000 by Raab Collection.

The Ardmore-based company which researches, buys, and sells documents of historical figures, purchased the letter from an anonymous owner.

Collection president Nathan Raab told The Inquirer that he received a call from a woman who found the document after going through her late husband’s writing desk.

There was initially “great interest tempered with caution,” Raab said. Calls about historical items are common, and none of them can be authenticated until they arrive at the organization.

Once it was authenticated, Raab said the letter was a “poignant” discovery. “Anytime you get a document from Lincoln from his final days, something that wasn’t known to have survived and one of the last things he touched, that’s a very moving experience,” Raab said.

Under the letterhead “Executive Mansion,” the letter Lincoln wrote assigned Allen M. Gangewere to a federal auditing post. “A.M. Gangewere is hereby appointed to discharge the duties of Third Auditor of the Treasury during the absence of the Auditor caused by sickness or otherwise,” the letter read.

His famed signature was then penned underneath.

The 159-year-old letter was signed by Lincoln on April 11, 1865, just two days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to the Union Army in Virginia, ending the four-year Civil War.

With the bloody American conflict essentially over, Lincoln walked up to the second story window of the White House on April 11 to deliver a speech that he hoped would bind the once-torn nation together.

“We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart,” he said in front of a crowd of nearly 3,000. “A call for a national thanksgiving is being prepared, and will be duly promulgated.”

In the audience was stage actor John Wilkes Booth, who was angered by Lincoln’s sentiments. He failed to kidnap the President once before, but he told his colleagues the undoing of the Confederacy would result in Lincoln’s death.

Four days later, Lincoln was assassinated by Booth.

After posting the 1865 letter on the collection website, Raab said there have been several inquiries for purchase.

It’s still in early in the offering process, but he’s excited to have another rare item in the organization’s collection.

©2024 The Philadelphia Inquirer. Visit inquirer.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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