Iconic stovepipe hat might not be Lincoln’s

Published: Monday, April 16, 2012 5:30 a.m.CDT

SPRINGFIELD – Two months after a famous portrait of Abraham Lincoln’s wife was deemed a fake, the origin of a stovepipe hat believed to have graced Lincoln’s head has been called into question.

The Chicago-Sun Times reported Sunday that the leaders of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield cannot explain how a farmer acquired the iconic stovepipe hat more than 150 years ago.

Similar questions were raised when a painting of Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, recently underwent restoration. The work revealed that the real subject of the portrait is actually an anonymous woman and not the former first lady. The artist’s signature also appears to have been added after the painting was completed.

The hat has been valued at more than $6.5 million and for years has been a cornerstone historical item at the museum, which acquired it in 2007.

No one has been able to refute the hat’s authenticity with certainty. It bears the floral stamp of a 1850s-era Springfield hatmaker. It fits a head about 22 inches in circumference – the same as Lincoln’s hat size.

– The Associated Press

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