Daily Archives: September 18, 2012

Seems legit

Here’s a golden opportunity for all you Lincoln buffs in the Milwaukee area.

For a few weeks now, Ron [Barczynski] has been sitting there at 27th and Cleveland for hours a day trying to find a buyer for what he insists is an original and authentic letter from one of our greatest presidents to a Civil War hero.

“I want $10,000. It’s a bargain,” he tells me when I stop to ask what the heck he’s up to. Other Lincoln documents have gone for 10 times that amount, he says.

He found the letter tucked into the back of a picture frame that he bought 40 years ago from a south side resale shop. Now at age 74 – which means he’s been alive half as long as Lincoln has been dead – he is feeling a sense of urgency about cashing in.…

The letter, dated Sept. 20, 1864, and written to Major Gen. Philip Sheridan in Winchester, Va., is just three sentences long: “Have just heard of your great victory. God bless you all, officers and men. Strongly inclined to come up and see you.”

It’s signed A. Lincoln.

The original was at the Library of Congress as of the 1950’s, so the notion that it ended up in a Wisconsin second-hand shop a mere twenty years later is rather unlikely.  And yet when I look at this photo…

Photo by Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

…I can’t help but think this would be a sound investment.

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