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Front row theater tickets from the night of Abraham Lincoln's assassination sell for $262,500 (P15 million)

By Melanie Uson Published Sep 26, 2023 9:18 pm

A pair of “exceedingly rare” theater tickets from the night of the assassination of former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is the only authentic pair known to exist other than the one used in Harvard University’s collection. It was finally sold at $262,500 (P15 million.)

The rare items were sold by Boston auction house, RR Auction on Saturday, Sept. 23. It was originally owned by The Forbes Collection of American Historical Documents. 

The tickets were for a production of Our American Cousin play at Ford’s Theatre, stamped with "Ford's Theatre, APR 14, 1865, Good This Night Only." Evidently seen at the lower right side of the ticket is the signature “Jas. R. Ford, Business Manager.” It is also clipped by the ticket collection as part of the theater’s admission process 

A pair of Ford's theatre front-row tickets from April 14, 1865, the night when Abraham Lincoln was shot.

The left side, meanwhile, has printed words “Ford's Theatre., Friday., Dress Circle!" It also has handwritten letters of “D” as the seat section and seat numbers “41” and “42.” Each ticket measures 4.25 x 1.75 inches. 

“The tickets are in very good condition, with fragile central vertical folds, some light creasing, and one with a chipped lower corner,” the auction house wrote. 

It was further authenticated by comparing it to another ticket under Harvard University’s Houghton Library collection, given by Evert Jansen Wendell in 1918. This makes it the only three authentic tickets known to exist.  

Abraham Lincoln, the United States’ 16th president, attended the same play with his wife. The supposed usual night went sideways when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth—a stage actor—during the third part of the play. He was able to escape through a back door and was on the run until he was spotted at a Virginia farm and shot dead 12 days later.