Lifestyle & Belief

Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln sells for $2M


A signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, one of only 25 copies in existance of Abraham Lincoln's historic edict that freed American slaves, sold for over $2 million at auction.


Chris Hondros

A rare copy of the Emancipation Proclamation has sold for $2.1 million at auction in New York. 

USA Today reported that David Rubenstein, the billionaire managing director of the Carlyle Group private equity firm, purchased the document written in 1863. The seller remained anonymous.

Rubenstein told Newsday he collects historic documents "to remind people of the great freedoms we have."

"This document demonstrates with a stroke of the pen Lincoln's courage to do something no other president had done to lead a process toward the end of slavery. He deserves to be remembered," Rubenstein said. 

The sale of the document made it the second-highest price ever paid for a Lincoln-signed proclamation, according to The New York Times. The most expensive was another copy of the document, once owned by Robert Kennedy, that sold for $3.8 million.

More from GlobalPost: George Washington's constitution sold for $10M

The New York Times noted, Lincoln issued the proclamation on January 1, 1863, freeing all slaves in states then in rebellion, along with providing the legal framework for the emancipation of millions of other slaves.

According to the Associated Press, Lincoln signed 48 signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation, but only an estimated 50 percent of those have survived.

Rubenstein told the AP the copy he purchased will go on display somewhere in Washington, DC, although he did not disclose where.