One day, when I was a young man in high school in New York, I walked by the gallery of an autograph dealer on Fifth Avenue—Walter Benjamin Autographs. I wasn’t a fan of Lincoln. I just wanted an autograph. So I bought my first: a little cut signature of Abraham Lincoln.
After that I became more and more interested in history, and more and more interested in Lincoln. I began reading everything about him. When people in my business would complain to me about how tough things were, I’d say: “Wait a minute! You got it easy, kid! Try to grow up in a lean-to, like Lincoln. Try to grow up in the life of Lincoln!” Talk about perseverance. He ran for office five times and lost, and then he became President.