1863 Abraham Lincoln Signed Military Commission

Sold For: $6,000

Auction Year: 2016 fall

Lot: 2119

Item Year: 1863

Category: Historical/Political

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United States military commission, dated March 8, 1864, signed by Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), sixteenth President of the United States. The fully executed commission, which is partially handwritten and printed on vellum, appoints Thomas W. G. Fry as "Commissary of Subsistence of Volunteers with the rank of Captain." The commission has been signed in black ink by "Abraham Lincoln" ("7") and also by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton ("8"). One of the many distinguishing characteristics of military commissions is the fact that Lincoln always penned his full-name signature, rather than "A. Lincoln," the form commonly found on other documents and letters. As such, commissions have always been highly prized by advanced collectors. One of the more interesting aspects of this piece is that one day later, on March 9, 1864, Lincoln commissioned Ulysses S. Grant as Lieutenant General and three days later named him General in Chief of all U.S. armies. Thomas W. G. Fry was a Union soldier serving as First Lieutenant and Quartermaster with the 72nd New York Infantry before being appointed to the position cited in this commission.

The document features an elaborately engraved vignette containing all the elements of the Great Seal of the United States, with the words "The President of the United States of America" as its banner, making it particularly ideal for display. The original green paper seal remains firmly attached at the top. The document (15 x 19 inches), which has normal folds (as issued), is in apparent Excellent to Mint condition and represents one of the finer examples we have offered. This is an exceptional Lincoln signed commission, dating from the height of the Civil War, and one that would be a highlight addition to any advanced Lincoln, presidential, or Civil War collection. Matted and framed to total dimensions of 20 x 24 inches. Full LOA from James Spence/JSA. Reserve $2,500. Estimate $5,000++.


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