The top hat of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) that was bought in 2007 for $ 6.5 million (more than 5.5 million euros) may not be real. Chicago public radio station WBEZ was able to review two reports showing that there is not enough evidence to suggest that the top hat belonged to the sixteenth president of the United States.
The hat is the centerpiece of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Washington DC. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, which is separate from the museum, bought the hat, along with glasses and a serving plate, among other things, more than a decade ago. They would all belong to the historic president who abolished slavery and was assassinated after the end of the American Civil War. The Foundation paid a total of 25 million dollars (over 21 million euros) for the collection. In 2014, the organization asked the FBI to conduct a DNA analysis to demonstrate the relationship. The hat was searched for DNA traces which were compared to the DNA of hair and blood remains from Lincoln. These were preserved after the April 14, 1865 assassination attempt that killed Lincoln. The only DNA samples the FBI could find on the hat belonged to someone who had recently touched the hat.
A second report also questions the origin of the helmet. It is said that Lincoln gave the hat as a gift in 1858 to a farmer in Illinois, the state where the president took his first steps in politics. A descendant of the farmer said a century later that his grandfather received the hat as a gift in 1861. And that happened not in Illinois, but in Washington DC. It’s not enough to assume that the hat was Lincoln’s, it seems. More than a decade after its purchase, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation continues to struggle with serious financial problems.
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