A plaster sculpture of Abraham Lincoln’s hand has gone missing from a museum in Illinois, leaving museum staff confused as to who would take the important piece from the small Kankakee County Museum.

A statue of President Abraham Lincoln's hand was stolen from an Illinois museum.

A statue of President Abraham Lincoln’s hand was stolen from an Illinois museum. Image by Kankakee Police Facebook

Few in the US are revered like Honest Abe and love for the 16th President is particularly strong in Illinois. Lincoln worked as a lawyer there before becoming a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. He then moved on to the US House of Representatives and became President in 1861.

Kankakee police posted photos of the plaster cast of Lincoln’s hands on their Facebook page in an appeal for information. According to police, the hands were made by the artist George Grey-Barnard, a Kankakee native, making the piece especially important to the local museum. The artefact is more than 150 years old and is described as being the size of an eight to 10 pounds ham.

While the theft was noticed on 11 December, police aren’t sure when it was actually taken and don’t have any leads.

According to the New York Times, the piece’s worth is estimated at $5000 but was described as invaluable to the museum.

This isn’t the only piece of Lincoln memorabilia to go missing recently.  In late November, police in Pennsylvania reported that a bust of Abraham Lincoln had been stolen from outside of a museum.

The bust was taken off its pedestal from the Hall of Presidents and First Ladies museum, but was found days later in a cemetery near the museum.