Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Save Our History" Auction Records Set

It was "save our history" week at New York auctions last week, with record prices set at Sotheby's for three items:

1) An original copy of the Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation sold for $3,778,500, the highest price ever paid at auction for a U.S. Presidential document. The 1863 document that declared the slaves were "forever free" was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The copy that sold, one of 48 originals signed by Lincoln, belonged to Robert F. Kennedy, who bought it in 1964 while he was attorney general of the United States. The new owner remains anonymous.

2) The guidon (the flag carried on a pole that identifies the unit going into battle) carried in Custer's 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn sold for $2,210,500. The swallowtail flag was found after the battle hidden under the body of a dead soldier. All other flags had been taken by the Indians. This flag belonged to the Detroit Musem of Art and had not been on display for over 80 years. The money will be used to buy items related to American Indians.

3) The third bit of history was the document that listed the 13 rules for the game of basketball invented by James Naismith in 1891. It sold for the highest price of all, $4,338,500. The money from the sale will go to the Naismith International Basketball Foundation.

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