(ABRAHAM LINCOLN). April 20, 1865-Dated, Official Printed $100,000 “REWARD” Broadside / Poster, for the Assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, Authorized by Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, Framed, Choice Extremely Fine.
This remarkable, original and fully authentic Broadside / Reward Poster is one of the most historic and widely recognized iconic printed pieces in all of American history.
Only five days prior to its printing, Confederate General Robert E. Lee had signed the papers of Surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia and thus technically ending the American Civil War. The John Wilkes Booth Reward Broadside for the Assassin(s) of President Abraham Lincoln is certainly the most famous of the Civil War Era, and the tragic events surrounding Lincoln’s visit to Ford’s Theatre on that fateful night of April 14th, 1865.
After Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton authorized this Reward to be issued, along with the specific text to be printed, several printers in the local Washington, DC area produced about ten slightly different variations. Today, only about fifty examples, inclusive of all types and quality are known. Of those, about one third are forever locked away within the collections of various institutions. Only four of this current rare design type offered here, are thought to be known to exist. This example is to our best knowledge the finest known.
This Wanted Poster / Broadside is dated at Washington, April 20, 1865, by Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War. It measures 12” wide by 22.5” tall, with half to one inch outer margins. The printed period paper laid upon a heavy cardstock for framing and display. It has bold eye appeal, being in excellent condition, with expected very light even overall tone. The black text print quality is sharp and clear, its bold headline banner text being very pronounced, and thus highly effective in its conveying its famous Reward message.
This Broadside offers $100,000 in reward money from the War Department for the apprehension of Lincoln’s Murderers. $50,000 for (The Murderer - John Wilkes Booth), $25,000 for John H. Surratt, and $25,000 for David C. Harold. This Reward Broadside reads, in full:
War Department, Washington, April 20, 1865,
Of our late beloved President, Abraham Lincoln,
IS STILL AT LARGE.
Will be paid by this Department for his apprehension, in addition to any reward offered by Municipal Authorities or State Executives.
Will be paid for the apprehension of John H. Surratt, one of Booth’s Accomplices.
Will be paid for the apprehension of David C. Harold, another of Booth’s Accomplices.
LIBERAL REWARDS will be paid for any information that shall conduce to the arrest of either of the above-named criminals, or their accomplices.
All persons harboring or secreting the said persons, or either of them, or aiding or assisting their concealment or escape, will be treated as accomplices in the murder of the President and the attempted assassination of the Secretary of State, and shall be subject to trial before a Military Commission and the punishment of DEATH.
Let the stain of innocent blood be removed from the land by the arrest and punishment of the murderers.
All good citizens are exhorted to aid public justice on this occasion. Every man should consider his own conscience charged with this solemn duty, and rest neither night nor day until it be accomplished.
EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.
DESCRIPTIONS.--- BOOTH is Five Feet 7 or 8 inches high, slender build, high forehead, black hair, black eyes and wears a heavy black moustache.
JOHN H. SURRAT is about 5 feet, 9 inches. Hair rather thin and dark; eyes rather light; no beard. Would weigh 145 or 150 pounds. Complexion rather pale and clear, with color in his cheeks. Wore light clothes of fine quality. Shoulders square; cheek bones rather prominent; chin narrow; ears projecting at the top; forehead rather low and square, but broad. Parts his hair on the right side; neck rather long. His lips are firmly set. A slim man.
HAROLD is a little chunky man, quite a youth and wears a very thin moustache.
This official version of what is of the most famous and historic Reward Broadside in American history. It differs in several significant ways from other versions. The major differences are the new amounts (earlier versions offered $30,000 and $40,000), plus the use of a different, simple bold text to convey its message. There is no space at top for the placement of any images of the conspirators, as seen on some other official versions.
Unlike the copy in the Library of Congress, acquired from the Sterns Collection, there is No use of a decorative “pointing finger” towards the $100,000, No exclamation point after the word REWARD in that line, and the typestyles used are quite different being far less fancy and much more bold. In addition, there are other differences in the typesetting and text design within the lower portion of the print. There are far more examples of other version types known. Valuation of such important documents is difficult as they so rarely appear on the market to collectors. The major auction sale of a very rare different type Booth Reward Broadside was offered some time ago in the Christie’s auction of the Malcolm Forbes Collection. That Forbes specimen hammered for $70,000 (about $80,500 with buyer’s fee) a decade ago. An example of the very most common encountered version, having three empty printed slots at top for placing images of the conspirators, recently sold. That version, being in repaired and reinforced condition, brought $48,000. Over the decade timeframe since the Forbes auction, an original example of Paul Revere’s historic “Boston Massacre” Print advanced in its market value from previously selling for about $65,000 or so a decade ago, to $225,000 at auction, when sold just a few years ago.
This current example is the exact specimen as seen on the History Channel Show “PAWN STARS” in their episode named, “Broadsiding Lincoln” that first aired on Memorial Day, May 30th 2011. This remarkable John Wilkes Booth $100,000 Reward Broadside is a truly significant piece of American history. It ranks as one of the most desirable and highly sought after items of all printed historic and political Americana. This specimen is professionally and archivally matted and housed in a Civil War period styled, modern black painted wooden frame.
Only four examples are known of this design type of this spectacular American Broadside. It is to our best knowledge this one is the finest known as such. This Museum quality Wanted Poster / Broadside has an outstanding appearance in its excellent condition, and is ready for hanging on display.
In 2015, just two short years from now, the 150th Anniversary of the April 14th, 1865 Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln will be memorialized. This exceedingly rare type, John Wilkes Booth $100,000 Reward Broadside is destined to be the centerpiece for an important museum or private collection, certain to be displayed in commemoration of that most significant moment in American history.
*** Please Note: Due to the significant value of this item, Payment by Bank Wire or Check is required.
Item Number: 92989