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Auction of Historic Ford’s Theatre Tickets from the Night of Lincoln’s Assassination Fetches $262,500

by Ethan Kim
5 comments
Ford's Theatre tickets auction

Two front-row balcony tickets for the April 14, 1865 performance at Ford’s Theatre—remarkable for being the night President Abraham Lincoln was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth—have been auctioned off for a sum of $262,500, as reported by a Boston-based auction firm.

The tickets feature a date stamp that reads “Ford’s Theatre, APR 14, 1865, This Night Only,” and are further embellished with the imprint on the left side stating “Ford’s Theatre, Friday, Dress Circle!” The tickets also have penciled-in details, specifying the section (“D”) and seat numbers “41” and “42,” as confirmed by RR Auction.

The auction house officials noted that the handwritten seat information and the stamped date on these tickets are consistent with those found on other verified tickets, including a half-ticket stub in possession of Harvard University’s Houghton Library.

The aforementioned Harvard stub, representing only the left portion of the original ticket, is the lone other surviving April 14th Ford’s Theatre ticket. It features similarly penciled-in seat details and an identical stamp placement to those on the tickets sold in the recent auction.

On that fateful night, at slightly past 10:00 p.m. during the performance of “Our American Cousin,” Booth entered the presidential box and assassinated President Lincoln. After the act, Booth leapt onto the stage and exited through a rear door. Lincoln, who was critically wounded, was immediately examined by a physician present in the audience. He was then transported to the Petersen House across the street, where he passed away early the following morning. Booth eluded capture for a period of 12 days but was ultimately located and fatally shot at a farm in Virginia.

Also included in the Saturday auction was a first edition of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, autographed by Lincoln himself, which sold for nearly $594,000.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ford’s Theatre tickets auction

What is the significance of the Ford’s Theatre tickets that were auctioned?

The tickets are historically significant as they are front-row balcony tickets dated April 14, 1865—the night President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre. Their sale at auction for $262,500 further underscores their value and importance.

Who authenticated the Ford’s Theatre tickets?

The tickets were authenticated by a Boston-based auction firm, RR Auction. Their authentication was based on the handwritten seat information and date stamp, which matched those of known authentic tickets, including a ticket stub in the collection of Harvard University’s Houghton Library.

Are there any other surviving tickets from that night?

According to the auction officials, the only other surviving ticket from that specific night is a half-ticket stub that is part of Harvard University’s Houghton Library collection.

What play was being performed on the night of Lincoln’s assassination?

On the night of the assassination, Ford’s Theatre was hosting a performance of the play “Our American Cousin.”

What other items were sold at the same auction?

In addition to the Ford’s Theatre tickets, a first edition of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, signed by Abraham Lincoln himself, was also sold. It fetched a price of nearly $594,000.

What happened to President Lincoln after he was shot?

After being shot by John Wilkes Booth, President Lincoln was immediately examined by a physician who was present in the audience. He was then moved to the Petersen House across the street, where he passed away the following morning.

How long did it take for authorities to capture John Wilkes Booth?

John Wilkes Booth was able to evade capture for 12 days following the assassination. He was ultimately located and fatally shot at a farm in Virginia.

More about Ford’s Theatre tickets auction

  • Ford’s Theatre Official Website
  • RR Auction Official Website
  • Harvard University’s Houghton Library Collection
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates Historical Overview
  • Petersen House History and Significance
  • The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: A Comprehensive Account

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5 comments

JohnDoe45 September 26, 2023 - 2:07 am

Wow, cant believe those tickets sold for that much. Shows how important that night is in American history.

Reply
PoliticalJunkie September 26, 2023 - 2:54 am

12 days on the run and Booth thought he could get away? crazy how it all unfolded and we’re still talking about it today.

Reply
SarahInFinance September 26, 2023 - 3:04 am

Nearly $594,000 for a Lincoln-signed debates edition? That’s an investment in history right there!

Reply
TheaterLover September 26, 2023 - 2:11 pm

That night changed the course of American history and Ford’s Theatre. Hard to believe we still have tickets from that night.

Reply
HistoryBuff22 September 26, 2023 - 9:09 pm

Amazing how relics from such a tragic event can fetch a high price. I guess its their historical significance that makes em so valuable.

Reply

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