Lot 153 of 221:
Lincoln Coachman Forgeries  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$420
$400 - $600

Lincoln Coachman Forgery of The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner

Defoe, Daniel


John Major



With Introductory Verses by Bernard Barton, and Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from Drawings by George Cruikshank, Expressly Designed for This Edition. Two volumes. Printed at The Shakespeare Press by W. Nicol. Octavo. In later one half green morocco over green cloth bindings, with decorative gilt stamping, four raised bands, marbled endpapers, and a ribbon marker. Both frontispieces have been trimmed, top and bottom, with the images unaffected. 

Two notarized statements, one on the verso of the frontispiece and other on a concluding blank leaf, in the first volume allege that this was one of the old books given to her coachman William P. Brown by Mrs. Abraham Lincoln in 1866. Both statements are signed by Brown and by Frank E. Thatcher, a Muskegon County, Michigan notary public. The "Coachman Forgeries" were perpetrated by Eugene "Pinny" Field (son of poet Eugene Field) and Harry Dayton Sickles who attempted, with some success, to increase the value of books they were selling by making them appear as though they had come from the personal library of Abraham Lincoln. In 1931, after a story appeared in the national news about William P. Brown, Mary Todd Lincoln's coachman during the years immediately following the President's assassination, Field and Sickles arranged for him to autograph period books and maps. Unaware of the larger scheme, Thatcher attested to authenticity of Brown's signature, and the resulting forgeries appeared to have both Presidential provenance and the notary's imprimatur. The Abraham Lincoln Association exposed the scheme by way of a warning to its members. However, Field and Sickles were never prosecuted or otherwise held liable and continued to produce forgeries of famous figures like Rudyard Kipling, Theodore Roosevelt, and Mark Twain until the early 1940s.

Donated by Johnson Rare Books & Archives, Covina, CA.

Lot Amendments

The ribbon marker in the first volume is detached but present. The spines are darkened just a touch, with some occasional minor shelfwear; otherwise very good.

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