They’re making an honest buck from honest Abe.
Two front-row balcony tickets from the night Abraham Lincoln was assassinated inside Ford’s Theatre have been sold at auction for a cool $262,500, the Associated Press reported.
The trapezoid-shaped tickets — with a corner believed to have been clipped on admission — are from the DC playhouse’s performance of “Our American Cousin” and dated Apr. 14, 1865. They are for seats 41 and 42, with section “D” penciled in for the dress circle area of the theater.
The tickets reportedly offered an unobstructed view of the murder of the president, who was shot by Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth.
“The Presidential box occupied by the Lincolns was also located on the dress circle, more or less directly across from the front row seats represented by these two tickets,” according to an earlier 2002 auction of the historical stubs — which then went for $83,650 — prior to the Saturday sale from Boston-based RR Auction.
“This type of Ford’s Theatre ticket for April 14, 1865, is exceedingly rare — auction records reveal no other examples offered since their original sale as part of the Forbes Collection in 2002,” according to RR Auction.
Another rare ticket from the performance, which is kept at Harvard’s Houghton Library, was used to verify the authenticity of the two dress circle stubs through consistencies .
Surprisingly, dress circle tickets were not the most expensive sold at Ford’s Theatre that evening, despite Lincoln’s attendance. They rang up at a total of 75 cents, whereas orchestra seating was priced at $1, according to an advertisement archived in the Library of Congress.
Family circle tickets were the cheapest at 25 cents, while private boxes cost either $6 or $10.
Booth, an actor who knew the theater well, used his familiarity to sneak into Lincoln’s booth — one the president shared with his spouse, Mary Todd Lincoln, among others.
After Booth fired the fatal bullet, he jumped onto the stage, injuring his leg, and yelled the Virginia state motto, “Sic semper tyrannis” — Latin for “Thus always to tyrants” — before limping away to escape on a horse.
He survived for 12 days but was shot dead by Union troops who found the assassin hiding in a Virginia barn, which they set fire to in order to force him out.
Lincoln’s killing — which took place days after the Civil War’s end — was part of a larger plot to decapitate the recently reunited US’s government. Booth’s fellow conspirators also targeted Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward.
Another artifact of the era, a Lincoln-signed first edition of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, was sold for nearly $594,000 at Saturday’s auction, the AP reported.
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