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1843 PHOTO NOT LINCOLN, MEDICAL EXPERT INSISTS

A controversial 19th century photograph slated for a New York City auction next month does not show Abraham Lincoln, insists a medical expert.

Dr. Ralph "Monty" Leonard, a professor of emergency medicine, said he studied the vein patterns on the back of the right hand of the man in the 1843 photo and found they don't match the patterns in a cast of Lincoln's right hand made in 1860.

"This is courtroom-solid evidence," said Leonard, who teaches at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. "It's not Lincoln."

Christie's is set to auction the photo Oct. 6. Officials there predict bids between $200,000 and $300,000 for the image, believed by some to be the earliest photo of Lincoln.

But even Rick Wester, a photo specialist, said he can't guarantee that the photo is honestly Abe.

Skeptics surfaced almost immediately after Lincoln collectors Robert and Joan Hoffman of Pittsford, N.Y., decided to put the photo on the market.

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