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Suspect Lincoln

New and Improved

February 6, 2024

An eBay vendor is currently listing an 1860 Lincoln Wide Awake lantern with an opening bid of $1500. He says it was found behind the staircase in an old Fells Point, Baltimore home undergoing renovation. The lantern is a standard four-sided tin & glass lighting device with frosted glass panes and snowflake or star patterns. All well and good. But, each side has two glass panels. The underlying panel is frosted glass with no inscription. A second panel rests on top, adorned with a large star and inscribed “Lincoln-Hamlin Wide Awakes”. Based on our experience and observations, double panels were never used, the identical inscription and design was never used on all sides, and the style of the lettering does not appear contemporary with the election of 1860. We can say with a high degree of certainty that this does not date from 1860. It may have been concocted for a reenactment, a movie or a museum display. Be enlightened!