Store owner buys Civil War-era document worth thousands

Store owner buys Civil War-era document worth thousands »Play Video
An 1861 document signed by President Abraham Lincoln is seen Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, at Gold and Silver Trading Co. in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - If you could purchase something for $50 and sell it for $50,000 practically overnight, is that something you would be interested in?

That's exactly what happened to Kameron Kephart, owner of the Gold and Silver Trading Co. on the 3100 block of Union Avenue.

Kephart said a man came into his store last month with a Civil War-era document he found at the bottom of a chest owned by his grandmother.

"He said, 'I need the money right now,'" Kephart relayed. "I didn't know if it was real or not, and neither did he."

What was so special about the document? It was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

Kephart purchased it for $50.

"I took a gamble on it. I really did," he said. "I bought it and thought, 'You know, if it isn't real, it might look all right just hanging on the wall.'"

But, a few weeks after the purchase, Kephart authenticated the document at a trade show in Orange County, where it was deemed legitimate by Professional Sports Authenticator.

He was told the document could fetch anywhere between $20,000 and $50,000 at auction.

"I just can't help but stare at the thing all day," Kephart said.

The document was made for a recess appointment of George W. Goff as the collector of customs for the District of Champlain in the state of New York. It was dated April 29, 1861.

The document also features an official stamp and signature by then-Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase.

Kephart said he would've paid thousands of dollars for the document had it been previously authenticated.

He plans on displaying the document and has no immediate plans to sell it, unless the right price is offered.

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