* John O’Connor at the Associated Press…
In 2007, Springfield’s gleaming new shrine to Abraham Lincoln was open, but it lacked touchstone pieces to show off, so organizers paid $6.5 million for the most symbolic Lincoln artifact available: one of the 16th president’s stovepipe hats.
A dozen years and as many studies and hand-wringing public statements later, there’s no concrete evidence that the felted beaver-fur hat ever sat atop Lincoln’s 6-foot-4 frame.
Has anyone requested a refund?
No, and it doesn’t appear anyone will soon. The foundation that bought the hat as part of a 1,500-piece, $23 million deal with California collector Louise Taper is not considering action, vice chairman Nick Kalm said. It’s supporting further research directed last week by Ray LaHood, chairman of the newly organized trustees of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. […]
He would not comment on the prospect of renegotiating with Taper, whom The Associated Press was unsuccessful in contacting for comment. Legal experts all but rule out successful court action, and while there’s the possibility of appealing to the seller through moral suasion, few are of a mind to do it.
Another option would be to use the hat to educate the public about blunders like this. Hey, if it drives traffic, go for it. We’re apparently stuck with the thing, so use this lemon to make lemonade.