Original handwritten telegram announcing Lincoln's death is up for sale

Hadas Kuznits
April 12, 2019 - 12:56 pm
The original telegram of Abraham Lincoln's death.

Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — For $500,000, you can own a piece of American history dating back to the assassination of the nation's 16th president. 

The original handwritten document notifying the country of Abraham Lincoln's death is currently up for sale by The Raab Collection, based in Ardmore, Pa. 

It has been in the estate of a Civil War general for generations, and the collection recently acquired it.

"It's the moment in which Lincoln dies," said collection President Nathan Raab of the archive. "He's shot on the 14th, April 14. He survives the night but dies early on the 15th. So, at 7:22 a.m. he is pronounced dead, and this document is created, which is meant to be sent around the world by telegraph — which is how things happened back then — and it's taken over to the telegraph office. 

"But the document, the original document, has been thought lost to time. So that's what we have, that original document."

Raab said the note captures a crucial and powerful moment in American history.

"In many ways, we're still dealing with the consequences of that," he said, "which was the first assassination of a U.S. president. Not the only, but the first."