Auction House Bags $262,500 For Front-Row Tickets From Night Abraham Lincoln Was Assassinated

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Mariane Angela Contributor
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Two rare balcony tickets from the night of former President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre were sold for $262,500 at an auction Sept. 23.

The tickets, sold by RR Auction, date back to the theatre’s production of “Our American Cousin” on Apr. 14, 1865, and are in good condition, with only slight creasings and a chipped corner on one ticket. The seats provided an unobstructed view of the infamous incident where Lincoln was assassinated by the Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth.

Each ticket features a stamp that reads, “Ford’s Theatre, APR 14, 1865, This Night Only,” while the left sides are inscribed with “Ford’s Theatre, Friday, Dress Circle!”. The tickets have also been penciled in to indicate the section (“D”) and seat numbers (“41” and “42”). The tickets appear clipped on the right side — presumably by the ticket-taker upon admission — and feature the printed signature of “Jas. R. Ford, Business Manager.”

The collection also includes an envelope with annotations from the time, reading: “Front Seats, Dress Circle, Reserved, Complimentary, Fords Theatre, April 14, 1865 (Night of Assassination of President Lincoln).”

These particular Ford’s Theatre tickets from the night of Lincoln’s assassination are exceedingly rare, with no other known instances appearing on the market since their original sale back in 2002, according to RR Auction. The authenticity of these dress circle stubs was corroborated using another ticket from the same performance, currently held at Harvard University’s Houghton Library. (RELATED: Lincoln Warned America About Leaders Like Joe Biden)

In addition to the tickets, the auction also featured the sale of a first edition of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, personally signed by Lincoln himself. The item sold for $594,000.