A letter signed by Abraham Lincoln has fetched as much as $3.4 million at auction—more than any other missives, including those of George Washington ($3.2 million) and Albert Einstein ($2.1 million). This frequently cited Lincoln letter, which sold for $1,300 in 1952 and $127,000 in 2002, is currently on the market for $680,000 at Seth Kaller Inc. Written to a supporter during Lincoln’s 1858 U.S. Senate race in Illinois, the letter showcases Honest Abe’s strategy for his now-famous debates with incumbent Stephen Douglas: force the Democrat to declare slavery a local issue, not a federal one. Although he lost the race, Lincoln’s politically astute tactic created a divide among Democrats that helped him secure the presidency two years later.
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