by 👩💻 Stephanie Boyd
Abraham Lincoln – inarguably one of the most iconic US Presidents of all time – is just as much known for the actions he delivered, such as the end to slave trading in America, as he was for his fairly striking appearance. A tall, stoic man with a bearded chin and stovepipe hat, it’s likely you’ll recognize the iconic statesman even if you don’t know that much about him – or that he was ultimately assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. One of Lincoln’s famed artefacts, his brown stovepipe hat, is thought to now be worth around $6.5 million – but if news this week is to be believed, the authenticity of the item may actually be in doubt. Did Lincoln ever actually wear the hat, which could receive a relative fortune were it to ever reach auction?
Lincoln, of course, wore more hats than this chocolate brown number – but it’s this particular accessory, made from beaver fur, which has reportedly been raised for analytical inspection. In tests which have been quietly carried out in recent times, the Foundation acting on behalf of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum put the hat forward to experts to see whether or not it could be proved that the President ever wore this particular piece of headgear. DNA testing and deeper analysis reportedly took place, and the findings were, surprisingly, inconclusive. Sadly, this means that – while the Museum has been claiming that the hat did indeed belong to the 16th US President – we have no way to confirm or deny this fact. In fact, a report returned to the Museum is said to have advised them to ‘soften its claim’ about the hat.
The results were only recently made public, though Museum head Alan Lowe was keen to profess that the hat may not give away evidence of DNA due to its sheer age. “It is important to understand that neither of these initiatives produced new evidence about the hat’s origins,” he stated. He is certainly right – while it may appear that the hat could belong to anyone of the time period, there is no way to deny it ever having sat on Lincoln’s head.
Lincoln certainly loved his stovepipe hats – you only have to look at classic portraits of the man to understand that – but is this particular accessory an Honest Abe article? Who knows!