If anything can be screwed up AND cost the taxpayers millions, Illinois can do it. This time the state wasted $23 million to buy an “Abe Lincoln top hat” that an investigation later found he never owned.
You might wonder why they didn’t “investigate” first. Well… it’s Illinois.
A few years ago, the State of Illinois — which adopted the moniker “The Land Of Lincoln” because he started his political career there — bought a large collection of Lincoln artifacts to serve as the basis of its new Lincoln Museum.
The woman who owned the huge collection of hundreds of true Lincoln artifacts wanted $9 million for the whole kit-and-caboodle or it was no sale. So, the state borrowed the money to purchase the collection.
The loan ended up costing the state $23 million with all the interest and whatnot. And even at that, a recent payment was almost missed which would have meant that the ownership of the collection would have been lost to a bank.
Anyway, the central piece in the collection was a reputed “Abe Lincoln top hat.”
This item would have been a wonderful addition to the state’s Lincoln collection… if… it was an actual Lincoln hat.
But it turns out, the idiotic State of Illinois just spent $23 million on a Lincoln hat that Lincoln never owned.
as the Chicago Tribune reported:
The prize feature of the items bought was the beaver-skin hat — which alone was appraised at $6.5 million — because the 16th president was so closely identified with that style of headwear. And it turned out the hat’s authenticity was quite disputable.
It was passed down to the descendants of an Illinois farmer, William Waller, who supposedly got it as a gift from Lincoln when Waller visited Washington during the Civil War. But troubling questions arose, and last year, the foundation commissioned a study by Illinois State Historian Samuel Wheeler to find the truth. His findings were bad news.
The report, obtained by WBEZ, found no evidence that Lincoln ever owned or wore the hat. It has no traces of Lincoln’s DNA; it does not appear to be his size; and, reported WBEZ, “its apocryphal Lincoln connection wasn’t even known to descendants of its original owners.” The report also faulted the foundation for its inexplicable carelessness. “It is clear that no one at (the museum) conducted any research on the object before it was acquired in 2007,” said Wheeler.
Um… the first clue should have been that the darn thing wasn’t even Lincoln’s hat size!
Nice going, Illinois, you dopes.
Oh, and guess what party runs Illinois?
Yeah. I don’t even have to tell you.
(By the way, there is no such thing as a “beaver skin top hat.” No “skin” is ever used in hat making. Only the hairs of the fur-bearing creature are used in the body of a hat. The fur is scraped off the skin and the skin is discarded. So, the Trib even had no idea what the hat was.)
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