Rare Memento From Night Lincoln Was Shot Just Sold for Big Bucks

RR Auction hawks 2 front-row balcony tickets from Ford's Theatre for $262K
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2023 9:15 AM CDT
Tix to Ford's Theatre on Night Lincoln Was Shot Sell for $262K
Rare front-row balcony tickets to Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865, rest on a reflective surface.   (Nikki Brickett/RR Auction via AP)

A pair of front-row balcony tickets to Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865—the night President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth—have sold at auction for $262,500, according to a Boston-based auction house. The tickets are stamped with the words "Ford's Theatre, APR 14, 1865, This Night Only." They bear the left-side imprint "Ford's Theatre, Friday, Dress Circle!" and are filled out in pencil with section ("D") and seat numbers "41" and "42," according to RR Auction.

The handwritten seating assignments and the circular April 14th-dated stamp match those found on other known authentic tickets, including a used ticket stub in the collection of Harvard University's Houghton Library, auction officials said, per the AP. The Harvard stub, which consists of just the left half of the ticket, is the only other used April 14th Ford's Theatre ticket known to still exist, with similar seat assignments filled out in pencil and a stamp placed identically to the ones on the tickets auctioned off Saturday.

Just after 10pm the night Lincoln was shot, during the third act of the play Our American Cousin, Booth entered the presidential box at the theater in Washington, DC, and shot Lincoln. As Lincoln slumped forward in his seat, Booth jumped onto the stage and fled out a back door. The stricken president was examined by a doctor in the audience and carried across the street to the Petersen House, where he died early the next morning. Booth evaded capture for 12 days but was eventually tracked down at a Virginia farm and fatally shot. Also sold at Saturday's auction was a Lincoln-signed first edition of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, which fetched nearly $594,000.

(Read more Abraham Lincoln stories.)

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