NEW YORK, April 4 (UPI) -- A letter written in 1864 by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, has been sold at an auction in New York for $3.4 million.
NY1 said the letter was a reply to a group of young students who pleaded with him to free the country's "little slave children." An unidentified private collector bought it Thursday.
The year of the letter is significant because it was the one in which Lincoln later signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed millions of slaves.
Sotheby's auction house in New York said the amount was the most ever paid for a U.S. manuscript, the Springfield (Ill.) State Journal-Register reported.
"We believe this to be an auction record not only for Lincoln, but for any presidential manuscript -- indeed for any historical American manuscript," said Selby Kiffer, senior vice president of Sotheby's books and manuscripts department.
"The previous record-holder, to my knowledge, was an 1865 manuscript of a Lincoln speech sold in the Forbes sale by Christie's in March 2002 for a hammer price of $2,800,000 -- or $3,086,000 with the buyer's premium included," Kiffer said. "I don't apologize for this price. This is the best Lincoln document available for purchase in many, many years."