Awesome Abe Lincoln bookends hold charm and value

Published 6:51 pm Friday, July 26, 2019


Personal Effects

Question: Hey Jerry, I found these cool Abe Lincoln bookends while I was on vacation. I see no marks on them but they are so cool. Very heavy. I bought them from a scrap dealer so I have only a few bucks in them. Who made them and are they worth much? Thanks, I love your column.

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Answer: They are cool and you know what? I’ve carried these before. Lincoln items are very popular, because he was one of the most important presidents in U.S. history. And, because of this, there were tons of items made.

This isn’t the only set of Abraham Lincoln bookends from markets past. I think there are about eight, or more, different styles.

Dating is pretty easy. I wager that they are going to date to the 1920s – 30s. Maker is something else. We know of the B & H mark for Bradley & Hubbard. These aren’t B & H. I know of many others, though. I know you didn’t see it, but if you look on the back, usually near the bottom, there is a “V” founders mark. I’ve never been able to discover what this foundry is. If any readers know, let me know.

Never-the-less, they are great bookends, well cast and formed, and nice details. Though, I have to warn you, if you want to use them for heavy books, they will just slip apart and your books will go crashing to the floor. I like to call bookends like these, “front face” bookends. Meaning, that they just look best if they are facing out, towards you. Use big steel library bookends to actually hold your books upright and set these outward, so you can see ol’ Abe’s profile.

I found several examples like these selling on eBay, for anything from $30 to $45 for a pair. I’d wipe them off with a barely damp rag and maybe a drop, or two, of oil rubbed into each one. Let them set out in the open for several days to let the oil evaporate off. Then, you’ll be ready to put them along side your books. Thanks for sharing them with us.