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The original Chicago Gettysburg Cyclorama went on a tour of eight cities before returning to Chicago in 1933 where it was displayed at the World's Fair. It was abandoned in a warehouse until it was discovered by Winston-Salem, North Carolina, art collector Joseph Wallace King in 1965. King appeared on the panel game show I've Got A Secret on May 30, 1966, displaying a 22' by 25' section of the painting (his secret was that this was only part of the painting). It was revealed that King heard of the lost painting and had been searching for it for some time, and now that he'd found it, he hoped to construct a new cyclorama building.

The painting has, for the most part, remained rolled up since 1933, though it was donated by King to Wake Forest University upon his death in 1996. The university sold the painting in 2007 to an anonymous group of Raleigh, North Carolina, investors. The painting has been appraised at a value of US$5.5 million, but the value of the sale remains unknown. The group intends to resell the painting to a new buyer who will commit to restoring the work and building a suitable structure to house it.

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