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Lincoln’s Eyeglasses In Auction

JUNE 17, 2013

Clear-eyed as Abraham Lincoln might have been, he still needed spectacles. The ones he carried in a 1865 portrait taken in Washington, D.C. by Alexander Gardner are currently up for sale in an online auction at Nate Sanders. Provenance comes in the form of a 1977 letter by his great grandson, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith,, who found them in  a trunk in the attic of his grandfather, Lincoln’s son Robert Todd Lincoln. Bidding currently stands at $52,855 in the auction ending June 27, but it’s expected to go much higher.The spectacles are one of two pair that Beckwith discovered. As he describes in his letter, he donated one to the Illinois State Historical Library, now the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. The other he gave to one Margaret Fristoe, whom he later married. Eventually Fristoe passed them along to her daughter, whose affidavit is also provided. Offering further evident is a letter from an optician, stating that the prescription of the glasses matches Lincoln’s own.