Emancipation Proclamation Copy Fetches $2.1 Million at Auction

One of the few remaining signed original copies of President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation sold at a New York auction for more than $2 million.

The copy that was sold fetched the second-highest price ever paid for a Lincoln-signed proclamation. 2010 saw the highest price paid for a signed original copy that was owned by the late Sen. Robert Kennedy sold at Sotheby's for $3.8 million. The Kennedy family auctioned that copy which was originally purchased for $9,500 in 1964.

This price and the one for the Kennedy copy are the highest ever paid for the proclamation, reflecting a "growing appreciation for documents that capture the most important moments in our history," Seth Kaller, a dealer in American historic documents and expert on the Emancipation Proclamation, told AP.

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The latest copy of the 1863 document ordering the freeing of slaves, which was auctioned at the Robert Siegel Auction Galleries, was sold to David Rubenstein, managing director of The Carlyle Group investment firm, according to Reuters.

According to media reports, the document will go on public exhibit at an institution located in Washington, but has yet to be determined.

The proclamation has long been considered one of the most important documents in American history when during the Civil War it was signed in the declaring every man equal and ending slavery in the land of the free.

Forty-eight copies of the proclamation were printed and Lincoln signed all of them. Lincoln donated the signed copies to the Sanitary Commission, which would later become the Red Cross. The Sanitary Commission then sold the signed copies of the proclamation to private collectors in an effort to raise money for wounded solders.

A total of nine proclamation copies have been sold publicly in the past 40 years and just about half of the 48 proclamation copies have survived, Kaller said.

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