Copy of Voting Rights Act signed by Lyndon Johnson auctioned

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BOSTON — An official printing of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson has sold for $85,332, according to Boston-based auction firm.

The legislation was designed to secure the right to vote for racial minorities throughout the country, especially in southern states, during the nation’s tumultuous civil rights era.

The 10-page document is signed “Lyndon B. Johnson, August 6, 1965” and is an official printing of the law, according to auctioneers RR Auction.

The document also bears the signatures of then Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey and Speaker of the House John McCormack — fellow Democrats. McCormack was born in Boston and served in the Massachusetts Legislature earlier in his career.

A representative of the auction house said the document was purchased by Kenneth Rendell, a historical document dealer based in the suburbs of Boston, who had been waiting decades for the signed copy to reach the marketplace

Rendell said in a press release that a New York Republican member of Congress at the time had the GOP print a second copy of the bill, which he carried into the signing ceremony inside his suit jacket and slipped it in front of Johnson, who signed it after he signed the copy that went to the National Archives.

Other highlights of the auction included a “thank you” letter from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. for his help with Freedom Movement. That sold for $50,000, the auction house said.

The auction began on Feb. 19 and concluded March 10.

The Associated Press