A Community for Abraham Lincoln & American History — For Collectors, By Collectors. More About Us.

Suspect Lincoln

The Real and the Unreal

December 28, 2019

A little while back, a vendor from Poughkeepsie, New York listed a Lincoln & Hamlin rifle torch on eBay. He had acquired it from an estate auction in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Supposedly, it had been carried in a Wide Awake parade in Chicago, although there was no documentation of this. It sold at the opening bid of $1875. We picture three views of it. It looks right-as-rain to us.

By some strange coincidence, a different vendor from Johnstown, Pennsylvania offered a very similar torch shortly thereafter with a Buy-It-Now price of $900 and an opening bid of $200. He gave some standard background information on the election of 1860 and even let slip the fact that such torches were also known mounted on wooden rifles (wonder how he knew that?). He claimed it “came out of a house in Bedford [PA].” Is that supposed to mean something? (if so, we’re all for condemning that property!) Now, it seems to us that the inscription on this latest offering isn’t nearly as old as the torch itself. We’re tempted to say that they didn’t even let the paint dry before they took the pictures. We picture three views of it, as well. You be the judge. Finally, we picture one view of another example of the torch, acquired over twenty years ago from an old-time collection. That, too, is the “real deal”… the same term the Johnstown vendor used for the one with the paint drippings. The “real deal out of a house in Bedford.” Quick… get my checkbook!