Letters to the Editor:
I have a question. Attached are images from a group I traded for yesterday from one of my colleagues. I have not been able to ID the soldier yet who was killed and then embalmed. The typed transcript reveals some clues. The pass is in fine condition (about 3 x 4 inches). On the front of the lettersheet, the first name is Edwin but on the back it says Edmunds. Apparently the dealers who have had this previously never looked up the embalming company but I did.
Turns out that they were based in Washington, D.C. and not only embalmed Willie Lincoln when he died but also President Lincoln himself. I had no idea Lincoln exhumed Willie’s body twice to look at him. Now I may be naive but with the fabulous Lincoln connection and with the lettersheet being purportedly very RARE, I think it is a wonderful piece of history.
I have no idea of value. To the right collector, it could be worth quite a bit, but these days, items like this are worth what one can get for them.
[Editor’s Note: Neat item, but creepy. The association is fun, but most collectors will value the item on its own merits. The story is just the icing on the cake. There are no doubt other examples of related ephemera from the same mortician. The value should be in the low hundreds, but maybe more if someone is “dying to have it!”]