There’s a new viral photo going around that shows what happened when a generous gesture turned into a heartwarming photo fail.
Reddit user Tyguy462 was walking around on a beach with his wife when a kind elderly man offered to shoot a photo for them.
“Would you like me to take a photo of you two love birds?,” the man asked. The couple agreed, handed over the wife’s phone, and posed for a picture. When they got around to reviewing the photo afterward, the couple was surprised to find a closeup photo of the man’s face instead. It turns out the iPhone hadn’t been switched out of selfie mode.
This historic photograph was captured in 1861, on a day when the United States teetered on the brink of Civil War and Abraham Lincoln was being sworn in as the country’s 16th president. And yesterday, one of the few prints of the photo in existence sold for a whopping $27,500.
The inauguration where this photograph was captured was tense, with sharpshooters positioned on the roof and in the windows of the Capitol to ensure the new president would remain president for longer than a day. It’s here that Lincoln addressed a divided nation, reminding those in attendance that “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.”
Most likely taken by Alexander Gardner, the photograph—an old salt print that measures 10 1/8 x 12 3/8 inches—was auctioned off by Sotheby’s yesterday… and the auction house is not being bashful about the picture’s value. They’ve dubbed it “a landmark in the history of photography and among the most impressive examples of early documentary photography.”
Adding to its value is the fact that this print is also exceptionally rare. “Extant prints of this historic image are scarce,” writes Sotheby’s. “At the time of this writing, it is believed that no other early print of this image has been offered at auction.” In fact, the auction house could only identify three other similar prints in existence.
At $27,500 this little piece of photographic history didn’t go cheap, but the proud new owner of the print probably won’t see another one like it at auction in their lifetime.