Over 1,500 Abraham Lincoln artifacts were trucked away from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum this week as the Lincoln Foundation and the ALPLM fued has amped up.
WBEZ reports that the Foundation and the Museum are at odds over the $8 million-plus still owed for the purchase of the unique collection, and this week the foundation made the stunning decision to remove the collection, leaving its future and the public’s access to it uncertain.
Taken away were items linked to Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theater, some personal items and his early writings, and pieces from his law practice in Springfield. The pieces were all a part of historian Louise Taper’s collection sold to the ALPLM for $23 million in 2007. Municipal bonds were issued by the city of Springfield to help finance part of the deal, and private donations were secured with the understanding that once the foundation’s borrowing was repaid, the collection would become property of the museum. Collection on the debt remains the central issue, and a 5-year agreement that allowed for the artifacts to be on display at the museum expired on Monday.
Hindman Auction House of Chicago was employed to truck away the collection as rumors of an auction to help pay down the debt are beginning to swirl. Questions about whether the items will return to public display or fall into private collections remain.