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AFP - publié le Vendredi 20 Mai à 13:22

Lincoln documents expected to fetch millions in NY

Two documents signed by Abraham Lincoln in his drive to abolish slavery in 19th century America go on auction next week, expected to fetch up to $5 million. Limited edition copies of the Emancipation Proclamation delivered on January 1, 1863 and the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery two years later, were issued by the man whom many still consider the greatest US president.
Sotheby's, which is conducting the sale on May 25 in New York, said the documents "represent crucial milestones" in American history and remain pertinent today amid renewed debate about racism in the United States.

In the proclamation, Lincoln ordered that all people held as slaves "henceforward shall be free."

The emancipation immediately set as many as 50,000 men, women and children free, and transformed the mission of the American Civil War from one of restoration of the Union to one of liberation.

The copy of the proclamation on sale is worth $1.5 to $2 million, and the copy of the 13th amendment $2-3 million, Sotheby's said. Both documents are framed.

Signed copies of the proclamation were advertised for $10 each in 1864 and sold to benefit the United States Sanitary Commission, considered a forbearer of both the Red Cross and the United Service Organization, Sotheby's said.

Lincoln signed the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the United States, on February 1 1865, the culmination of 70 years of discord over the status of slaves.
The copy on sale is one of 14 signed by Lincoln, his vice president, the speaker of the house Schuyler Colfax and in this case, by 36 senators.

Lincoln's historical importance and the enormous regard that he commands has often translated into high prices on the auction block.

In 2009, a manuscript of a Lincoln speech urging the country to unite amid civil war sold in New York for $3.4 million, which Christie's said was then a record for a US historical document.

Last November, the final passage of his second inaugural address, which Lincoln wrote out and signed for a 10-year-old child weeks before he was assassinated in a theater in April 1865, sold in New York for $2.2 million.

The 2012 Hollywood movie, "Lincoln," directed by Steven Spielberg won an Oscar for British actor Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role.

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