A pair of front-row balcony tickets to Ford’s Theatre, the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, were sold at auction for $262,500. These tickets, stamped with the date and the words “This Night Only,” bear seat numbers and section assignments that match those on other known authentic tickets. The only other used ticket from April 14th, 1865, the night of Lincoln’s assassination, is a stub held in Harvard University’s Houghton Library collection.
The assassination occurred during the third act of the play “Our American Cousin.” John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box and shot Lincoln, who slumped forward in his seat. Booth then fled the theater and evaded capture for 12 days before being tracked down and shot on a Virginia farm. Lincoln was taken to the Petersen House across the street, where he passed away the following morning. In addition to the tickets, a first edition of the Lincoln-Douglas debates signed by Lincoln was also sold at the same auction, fetching nearly $594,000.
The sale of these historic items offers a glimpse into the fateful night that changed the course of American history. The tickets provide tangible evidence of the events at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865, as they bear the same markings and seat assignments as other authenticated tickets. Possessing such relics allows individuals to connect with a significant moment in time, reminding us of the tragic end to Lincoln’s presidency and the impact it had on the nation. The high auction prices demonstrate the enduring fascination and value placed on historical artifacts, as collectors and enthusiasts eagerly seek to preserve and own these tangible pieces of history.