Trading store buys Abraham Lincoln's signature for $50

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/CNN) - A Bakersfield, Calif., store owner is now sitting on a rare historical treasure.

When you open up a trading store like Kameron Kephart did, you have to be prepared for all things strange.

"Pretty much anything. You name it, we buy it," Kephart said. "What we try to do is be different than any buy or sell shop in town."

His store includes a World War I era foldable organ piano, a 40-million-year-old fish and a psychedelic painting of JFK.

"Every item that comes in has a story behind it," Kephart said.

But even Mr. "I buy anything" was stunned when a man walked into his store last month holding a piece of paper.

"He said, 'Hey. I inherited this from my grandmother.  I need the money right now,’” Kephart said.

What was so special about the document?

"Abraham Lincoln's signature is right here," Kephart said, pointing to the signature on the paper.

That's right, it was signed by our nation's 16th president.

"It's definitely a piece of history," Kephart said.

The man claimed he found it in a family chest.

"I took a gamble on it. And I bought it and thought, you know, if it isn't real, it might look all right just hanging on the wall," Kephart said.

Kephart bought the document for $50.

"I didn't know if it was real or not and neither did he," Kephart said.

But could this signature be as honest as Honest Abe himself?

"We got it authenticated and realized it was real. It was just shock and awe,” Kephart said. “They said at auction it's anywhere between $20,000 and $50,000."

Kephart plans on displaying the executive document throughout his store among his other relics.

"A piece of history that he signed, you know? It's just absolutely amazing. I just can't help but stare at the thing all day," Kephart said.

But he is open to selling it if someone makes him an executive offer.

"If they have the right amount of money, I will sell it. … Don't get me wrong. I will sell it," Kephart laughed.

Kephart said if he knew the document was worth that much, he would've paid thousands for it.

He said similar documents are being sold on eBay for up to $100,000.


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