WASHINGTON, D.C. (Circa)--The 1966 white Cadillac that transported Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s remains on April 5, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, is making its debut after remaining in storage for nearly 40 years.
"This is a relic which should be seen by and shared with the American public. The owner and I believe strongly that this should not be in private hands, but should be shared with the country."
The anonymous recently contacted Zimet, who helps sell historic memorabilia on his website "Moments in Time," with hopes of seeing the relic preserved in D.C.'s newest Smithsonian: The National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“The Smithsonian has no major artifacts of Martin Luther King’s, as hard as that is to believe," Zimet told Circa. "They have speeches, they have pamphlets, they have letters, but they do not have the Nobel Prize he was award and or his personal bible, both of which belong to the King family.”
But because the Smithsonian rarely purchases memorabilia outright, Zimet and the unidentified owner are looking for a buyer who's willing to write a check for the hearse, and subsequently donate it to the museum. The asking price for the Cadillac stands at a hefty $2.5 million.
This isn't the first time that MLK, Jr.-related memorabilia has been sold for a substantial amount of money, Zimet added. About 12 years ago, the King family received about $32 million for nearly 7,000 of his papers, including drafts of his 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech and his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance address.
The hearse up-for-sale helped transport King's body on April 4, 1968--the day he was assassinated outside his motel room--as well as on April 5, 1968 to mark the first funeral service held in the civil rights leader's honor.
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