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The poster, printed six days after President Lincoln was killed, April 14, 1865, offered $100,000 for the capture of assassin John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices.

A rare reward poster for the capture of John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln April 14, 1865, has sold for $166,375 at Nate D. Sanders Auctions, April 27.

The poster, printed on April 20, 1865, advertises a total of $100,000 in rewards for the capture of Booth and his accomplices. Booth fatally shot Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC.

The reward poster for the capture of John Wilkes Booth for the assassination of President Lincoln sold for $166,375 at auction.

Nate D. Sanders Auctions

“This poster viscerally brings you back to the days after [Lincoln] was killed – the shock of the murder, and the anxiety of the assassin still out there on the loose,” said auction owner Nate Sanders. “It was an incredibly tense few days and this poster is one of the few mementos that have survived from it.”

The poster advertises $50,000 for the capture of Booth, to be paid out by the “War Department.” An additional $25,000 each was offered for the apprehension of John Surratt and David Herold (misspelled as “Harold”), described as two of Booth’s accomplices.

The piece is from the first printing of the poster and is the rarest of three different poster designs released by the War Department, according to the auction house. The poster has been handed down for decades within the same Philadelphia family, according to the auction house. This is the first time the artifact has been sold or auctioned.

“Let the stain of innocent blood be removed from the land by the arrest and punishment of the murderers,” the poster says. “All good citizens are exhorted to aid public justice on this occasion. Every man should consider his own conscience charged with this solemn duty, and rest neither night nor day until it be accomplished.”

John Wilkes Booth.

Library of Congress

Booth, an actor, is described as “Five Feet 7 or 8 inches high” with a “slender build” and “a heavy black moustache.” Surrat is described as “a slim man” with “hair rather thin and dark” and “eyes rather light.” Herold is described as “a little chunky man” with a “thin moustache.”

Booth was killed just six days after the printing of the poster. He was found hiding in a barn in northern Virginia and was shot by a Union soldier. Herold, who was hiding with Booth, surrendered and was sentenced to death by hanging. Surrat fled to Canada, then Europe and Egypt. His eventual extradition resulted in a mistrial, and he was released.

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