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Abraham Lincoln's Opera Glasses Up for Auction

Monday, 23 Apr 2012 02:22 PM

The opera glasses carried by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln when he was assassinated in 1865 will be auctioned later this month, expecting to fetch between $500,000 and $700,000.

Los Angeles auctioneer Nate D. Sanders will be selling the German-manufactured black and gold opera glasses that were used by President Lincoln at a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865.

During the second act of the play, stage actor John Wilkes Booth jumped into the president's viewing box and shot Lincoln in the head with a pistol.

The opera glasses were found in the street outside the theater by a Washington, D.C., city guard as he helped transport the president to nearby Petersen House, where Lincoln later died.

"Lincoln used literature and the theater as a means of escape from the daunting demands of the presidency. The glasses are the best and most well-documented relic existing from the first presidential assassination," Sanders said in a statement.

The glasses were confirmed to fit "precisely" into the carrying case held at the Ford's Theater National Historic site, and were purchased by Forbes magazine publisher Malcolm Forbes, Sr. in 1979.

The auction will be held on April 30, and bids can be placed by phone or online.

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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