For history buffs with a few million dollars in their pockets, there was good news in 2016. Two documents, the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment, were up for auction.
The auction happened at Sotheby’s in New York City. It was estimated that the Emancipation Proclamation would sell for about $1.5 million to $2 million, while the 13th Amendment would sell for about $2 million to $3 million.
There are 27 copies of the Emancipation Proclamation that exist. Twenty of the copies are framed and owned by institutions. The remaining 7, including the one that is up for auction, are privately owned.
There are only 14 original copies of the 13th Amendment. Most of these copies are located in institutions and museums. The 13th Amendment was signed by Abraham Lincoln on February 1st, 1865. The copy of the 13th Amendment that was up for auction was owned by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. This institute is a nonprofit. They were selling their copy of the 13th Amendment in order to raise money for much needed resources.
These documents are a really big deal due to the fact that they struck down the practice of slavery in the United States of America. The Emancipation Proclamation was a presidential proclamation by Abraham Lincoln that stated that the slaves would be free once the union won the war. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery from the Union.
These documents obviously have a lot of social significance, because they changed millions of people lives for generations to come. Slaves were set free and left to pick up from there.
We learn about history all throughout school, but most of us never really know where the documents are or what ever happened to them. It’s fascinating to hear about what actually happened to the documents, and how many copies exist in the world.