No Lincoln artifacts auction, foundation extends $9M debt

December 4, 2019 GMT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Hundreds of artifacts belonging to Abraham Lincoln and his family will remain in Illinois’ hands with the refinancing of a loan used to buy them.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Foundation announced Wednesday that it had refinanced the 2007 loan it used to purchase 1,500 items from collector Louise Taper.

The foundation voted last year to seek an auction house to prepare selling some of the items in the collection, which includes a stovepipe hat purportedly belonging to Lincoln, if it couldn’t pay off the $9.2 million remaining on the loan by this fall when the note came due.


But the foundation said it negotiated a three-year extension with Lake Forest Bank and Trust at a lower interest rate than the previous loan.

The foundation borrowed $23 million in 2007 to buy the collection. In addition to the stovepipe hat whose authenticity has been challenged, the collection includes the bloodied gloves Lincoln wore to the theater the night he was shot, the presidential seal still sitting on his White House desk and other items.

The foundation has paid $22 million of the debt that grew to $31 million with interest but fundraising had stagnated early last year when the foundation sought a contribution from the state, which was refused. The foundation had sought money from a tourism fund financed by hotel taxes because the items are housed in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.



Inventory of Taper collection: