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Museum won't test purported Lincoln hat

Feb. 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM   |   Comments

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Officials with the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation in Illinois said they have no plans to conduct DNA tests on a stovepipe hat.

The hat, which was purportedly given by Lincoln to a southern Illinois farmer in the late 1850s or early 1860s, has been subject to questions about its authenticity since it was purchased for $6.5 million from California Lincoln collector Louise Taper in 2007, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency board spent three months requesting the financial analysis by New York appraiser Seth Kaller, but the analysis eventually revealed Kaller did not perform any authentication work on the hat.

"The items in this collection have already been inspected and authenticated," Kaller wrote. "The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum has indicated that, based on prior in-depth research, it is comfortable with the provenance and descriptions provided. I have therefore made my valuations based on accepting the provenance information provided to me at the start of this project."

Eileen Mackevich, the presidential museum's director, said officials will not allow the hat be tested for Lincoln's DNA. He said experts are "concerned that DNA testing might do undue harm to an irreplaceable artifact."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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