Gettysburg Skull Auction Canceled Following Overwhelming Outcry

Did the skull of a soldier who died at the Battle of Gettysburg put on the auction block? It was set to take place — believe it or not — however, outraged citizens complained loud enough and forced the proceedings to be canceled.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is the site of the battle that took place between July 1 and July 3, 1863 and is considered to be a turning point in the American Civil War, which resulted in the largest number of casualties in the conflict.

Estate Auction Co. of Hershey, Pennsylvania had listed the skull — which allegedly is that of a soldier who died at the Battle of Gettysburg — to be auctioned on Tuesday in Hagerstown, Maryland; however, strong protests from the U.S. National Park Service in Gettysburg and others forced the auction to be canceled.

Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation said in a press release on Tuesday that the skull is now being donated to the foundation “for interment with full military honors in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg” following authentication via DNA.

According to a statement from the Park and Gettysburg Foundation, the auction house was “overwhelmed” by the outrage that followed the realization that the skull was going up for auction.

Gettysburg National Military Park superintendent Ed Clark said in a statement:

“We are thankful to have the opportunity to honor what is very likely an American veteran and have his final resting place recognized. The outpouring of support, passion and concern from American citizens made the difference and a positive outcome was achieved.”

The auction house said that the skull was found in 1949, when a garden was tilled in the Banner Farm in Gettysburg, and, according to the handwritten, notarized documents, 13 artifacts and the remains were located two-miles away from the site of a barn that was known to be used as a field hospital during the Civil War, auctioneer Tom Taylor told WHAG.

The news release states that Joanne Hanley, president of the Gettysburg Foundation, accepted the donation late Monday from Taylor, and, as of Tuesday, the skull was in storage at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center.

The seller of the Gettysburg skull was reportedly hoping to receive between $50,000 and $250,000 in the auction.

[Image via Thure de Thulstrupe]

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