Mary Lincoln, always fretting about money, tried to sell her old clothes through a New York City broker in 1867. She used an assumed name, but the wily broker discovered her identity and word leaked out.
She asked high prices for the elaborate pieces — $75 for a black silk borcade shirt, $40 for a purple foulard, $30 for a purple opera cloak, $1500 for a long camel-hair shawl.
Most pieces sold for meager prices to second-hand dress dealers, though. The money Mrs. Lincoln made didn’t even cover the commission she owed the broker.