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Hat caper probe to continue

Friday, Jan 17, 2020

* Kade Heather at the SJ-R

The reconstituted Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum board of trustees will try again to authenticate a stovepipe hat that could have belonged to the 16th president.

The board also has started the process to appoint a new executive director for the museum, chairman Ray LaHood announced during the board’s first meeting Wednesday.

A subcommittee comprised of three members from the ALPLM board and three from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation will determine how to proceed with the hat.

“My research was prematurely halted in May 2019,” said State Historian Samuel Wheeler. “I want to resume and complete my initial research plan. I look forward to working with the subcommittee.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

31 Comments
  1. - Jocko - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:31 am:

    ==try again to authenticate a stovepipe hat ==

    Apparently no board member ever watched The Brady Bunch episode where Mike Brady uttered the phrase “caveat emptor”.


  2. - Skeptic - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:33 am:

    And then what, they’ll hold their collective breath until someone says it’s authentic?


  3. - sammiches - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:35 am:

    Statement from the Houston Astros saying it’s legit forthcoming


  4. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:37 am:

    “If at first you don’t succeed, keep on sucking ’til you DO succeed!” — Curly Howard, Movie Maniacs (1936)

    – MrJM


  5. - revvedup - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:38 am:

    Just delaying the inevitable; the FBI has been involved, there is no proof it is his hat. Why not just admit it and move on??


  6. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:38 am:

    Is the goal here to spend even more money, waste more cash, to come to the conclusion that apparently everyone else around them accepts?

    It’s a phony hat.

    There.

    I saved you all that time and money.


  7. - efudd - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:43 am:

    Let’s say it was his.
    Okay.
    It’s a hat. Not exactly a cornerstone piece for the museum. If it was, wouldn’t be much of a museum.


  8. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:46 am:

    Do they even know how old it is and if it was made in the 1860s? It seems to me that that would be the first thing they would have to prove. After that good luck


  9. - statehoss - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:49 am:

    I’ve got an original of the Gettysburg Address I’d be willing to let go if they’re buying again.

    Lincoln signed his name, and also typed it immediately below the signature so you can tell it’s him.

    Serious bidders, low 6 figures minimum bid, cash only.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    I have this letter, from Abraham Lincoln. It’s a personal letter, as though the two aren’t just pen pals.

    I have on good authority this letter has been accepted as authentic, and many times used as a way to show the person who was the recipient as legitimate too.

    The letter was written to a calvary officer, a Major Marquis Warren…


  11. - Bruce (no not him) - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    They could do a DNA test on the beaver skin to see if it’s really a beaver and not some random marsupial.


  12. - LakeCo - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 10:04 am:

    Actually, if you read the full article, LaHood says: ““We should have a group from both boards to see where we go from here and let them decide if they
    want to do further investigation and how we can use the hat to our benefit,” LaHood said. “They can
    take as long as it takes to figure out a game plan.”
    So it’s not for sure that they’re even going to do more research into the hat.


  13. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 10:06 am:

    So the logic we’re proceeding on is that Lincoln wore a stovepipe hat, so this stovepipe hat has to be Lincoln’s?

    That’s like finding finding an old bow tie in a drawer and concluding it must have been Paul Simon’s.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 10:07 am:

    Maybe I’m approaching this all wrong…

    What is the basis of those taking the side, right now, that it is authentic?

    No more research, no deep dive, no inquiries, what right now, after all we know, makes anyone question it is not a fake?

    This should be pretty good fiction…


  15. - Boog Alou - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 10:11 am:

    ==It’s a hat. Not exactly a cornerstone piece for the museum.==

    Eh, I dunno. Lincoln’s hat is pretty iconic, I think having a real one would warrant a pretty good display.


  16. - Skeptic - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    “I think having a real one would warrant a pretty good display.” Boog Alou does have a point. After all, the Mona Lisa is just a painting.


  17. - Jibba - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 10:27 am:

    The question is whether representations were made regarding the hat that have turned out to be false. If there is any chance of getting the money back using legal action, then they should proceed to validate or invalidate the claims. If not, then it makes a nice exhibit about the self dealing of board members that probably dates back to Lincoln. Or just let kids try it on as an interactive thing. They’ll remember forever.


  18. - lakeside - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 10:29 am:

    I work in a museum preserving history. Separately, here is my raging hot take: omg who cares about this dumb hat.

    At best, it’s a hat Lincoln wore. It has no information. It doesn’t tell us anything about his thinking as president or about the Civil War, etc. If we want a Lincoln relic to put in an altar, can we at least get a finger bone or something?

    Unless the ultimate result of this good-money-after-bad deep dive into the provenance of the hat is that the museum gets a refund from this dodgy deal - what is the point? Put it in a case, say it might be Lincoln’s and stop buying things from board members.


  19. - d. p. gumby - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 10:45 am:

    I have Abe’s ax…the head has been replaced twice and the handle thrice, but it’s Abe’s ax.


  20. - Candy Dogood - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 11:00 am:

    I’m glad they’re spending a lot of time and effort to avoid acknowledging they were swindled out of millions of dollars.


  21. - JS Mill - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 11:01 am:

    Spoiler alert…it isn’t honest Abe’s hat.


  22. - efudd - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 11:03 am:

    “The Mona Lisa is just a painting”

    Sure, comparing that work of art that has been adored for centuries is the same thing as an article of clothing Lincoln wore sporadically.


  23. - efudd - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 11:06 am:

    “Lincoln’s hat is pretty iconic”

    Which is why he’s wearing it on state plates.

    Again, it’s a hat.


  24. - Streator Curmudgeon - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 11:20 am:

    You know what would be worth putting in the Lincoln museum?

    A photo of Oscar wearing that hat.


  25. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 11:59 am:

    With any luck, further review will reveal that not only is it not Lincoln’s hat, it’s not a hat at all.


  26. - Excitable Boy - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 12:20 pm:

    - It’s a phony hat. -

    Yes, but the real hat is the friends we made along the way.


  27. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 12:53 pm:

    - It’s a phony hat. -

    Yes, but the real hat is the friends we made along the way.

    The REAL hat was inside you all along.

    – MrJM


  28. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 12:59 pm:

    === The REAL hat was inside you all along.===

    Add a signature song, a sidekick, you have quite the little teleplay.

    Of course the “Frosty the Snowman” folks are going to go after it, but…


  29. - Dotnonymous - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 2:17 pm:

    The most successful stings rely on the total embarrassment of their mark…invariably…ouch.


  30. - revvedup - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    Everybody sing to the “Frosty the Snowman Song”
    “Sto-vie the Tall Hat,
    Nev-er sat on Lincoln’s head!
    But the ALPML paid a nice price,
    Just to give some-one State cash.

    Their was no Lincoln DNA
    In the stovepipe hat they found
    But when FOIA requests were made
    The Board claimed Abe was around.

    Sto-vie the stovepipe hat,
    Wasted money is it’s claim
    But the Board members cried
    “May-be it was Abe’s; just you wait
    we’ll prove it some waayyyyy”


  31. - Big Rocker - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 4:33 pm:

    Hat Trick


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