The Latest: State rep says Lincoln auction prep ‘bad sign’
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on the potential auction of Abraham Lincoln artifacts to pay off $9.7 million debt (all times local):
The Springfield Republican who holds the Illinois House seat once occupied by Abraham Lincoln says it’s a “bad sign” that officials are seeking an auction house to prepare for the sale of Lincoln artifacts to pay a $9.7 million debt.
Rep. Tim Butler says he was surprised to hear about the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation ’s action Wednesday. It could mean selling portions of a collection that includes a Lincoln stovepipe hat and bloody gloves from the night he was killed.
The debt is the balance of a $23 million loan to buy the collection. It’s due in October 2019. The foundation hopes state money can help.
Butler says the foundation is responsible for paying the debt. He’d look at state money only as a last resort.
Patty Schuh is spokeswoman for Gov. Bruce Rauner. She says taxpayers “have a lot of questions” before committing to help.
The foundation holding a $10 million bill for thousands of artifacts associated with Abraham Lincoln has voted to find an auction house to sell part of the collection.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation voted Wednesday. Foundation CEO Carla Knorowski tells The Associated Press the action doesn’t mean a sale is imminent. But the $9.7 million owed on a $23 million loan is due in October 2019 so the process must start now.
The Taper collection purchased in 2007 includes a stovepipe hat which purportedly belonged to the 16th president and a pair of gloves bloodied the night he was assassinated.
Knorowski says the foundation hopes to tap $5 million in state tourism promotion funds as a “challenge” grant to inspire private donors to put up the rest.