John F. Kennedy, a Massachusetts native, is still polled as one of America’s most beloved presidents, even 50 years after his assassination. His family connections, youthfulness, and mysterious and seemingly glamorous life still intrigue the public. Many auction houses are marking the 50th anniversary of his 1963 assassination in a Dallas motorcade with exclusive sales of many of his, and his friends’, family’s and colleagues’ personal items. Take a look at how you can buy a piece of history.
McInnis Auctioneers is holding a three-day auction in Amesbury on hundreds of JFK items. It begins at 3 p.m. on Nov. 22 and continues through Sunday. Anyone interested in purchasing an item can bid by going to the auction house at 76 Main St. in Amesbury, leaving an absentee bid form, registering for a phone line, or particpating online as the auction is streamed live online.
Warren Commission Report
The official report that investigated the assassination of President Kennedy concluded Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in killing JFK and wounding Texas Governor John Connally. The McInnis item up for sale is the complete 889-report signed by all of the commission members, including Lyndon Johnson and Gerald Ford.
It will be for sale on day one of the McInnis Legends Auction Summit, Nov. 22-24.
Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother’s letters
Lee Harvey Oswald is the man accused of killing John F. Kennedy in Dallas, on Nov. 22, 1963. His mother wrote letters to Playboy magazine to defend her son’s honor and maintained her belief in his innocence.
Amesbury-based McInnis is auctioning these letters as part of the first day in their auction summit surrounding JFK and his close companions and colleagues. The summit takes place Nov. 22-24.
Peter Lawford files
Peter Lawford, John F. Kennedy’s brother-in-law, was a major player in Hollywood in the 1960s and had a tremendous influence in both the film world and the political world. These expansive files include correspondences between Lawford and Kennedy, information about Marilyn Monroe, a close friend of Lawford’s, and behind the scenes files about the connection of Hollywood and Washington. These files have never been released before and remained in the possession of Lawford’s business partner, Milton Ebbins, for 40 years.
All the files will be sold on the third day of the McInnis auction summit, Nov. 22-24.
Pictured: Lawford’s speech introducing Marilyn Monroe before she sang “Happy Birthday’’ to JFK.
Tribute to Jackie Kennedy
Jacques Lowe, a renowned photographer, created a tribute showcase to Jackie Kennedy for the Leukemia Society of America. Jackie died of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1994. These photos, first published in 1996, raised money to aid lymphoma research. The negatives of the famed photos were lost in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, making this collection even rarer.
They will be sold in the first session of the McInnis Legends Auction Summit, Nov. 22-24.
1953 Kennedy engagement photos
Even though Life Magazine only published a few photos of Jack and Jackie upon their engagement in 1953, there were many more photos in the set. Those not published in Life are now up for auction. The entire collection of more than 230 photos was taken on Hyannis by Hy Peskin and shows the Kennedys in a relaxed setting.
The set is inluded on the first day of the McInnis auction summit.
Hyannis rocking chair
John F. Kennedy spent much of his time in rocking chairs, but this one was particularly special because of its role in his bond with Jackie. It was in the nursery at Otis Air Force Base in Bourne where Jackie gave birth to their son, Patrick, in 1963, who died two days after his birth. The chair is where JFK spent his time with Jackie in those perilous two days.
The chair will be a part of the second session of the McInnis auction summit, Nov. 22-24.
Lem Billings was John F. Kennedy’s childhood friend who remained his confidant until his death. He had his own room in the White House and was a close friend to the entire family. JFK gave Billings this cashmere blazer with presidential buttons, and an inscription inside the jacket pocket.
It will be sold on the second day of the McInnis auction summit.
John F. Kennedy has been referred to as the man who killed the hat. He disliked headwear, and was the first president to not wear a hat during his inaugural address. However, he did have a fedora that he wore on occasion. There is even a book detailing his aversion to hats.
The rarely-worn hat will be up for auction on the second day of the auction summit.
Felix de Weldon bust
Sculptor Felix de Weldon, although most well-known for his statue of five Marines and one sailor raising the flag at Iwo Jima, also made four bronze busts of JFK. One is located at the JFK Library, and another remained with the artist.
That particular bust is now up for auction on the second day of the Legends auction summit, Nov. 22-24.
Jackie’s letters to her stylist
Jackie had an extensive correspondence with Marita O’Connor, her stylist and hat maker. In these letters, Jackie shows her concern for fashion by using minute detail to describe the hats she needed. Written personably and intimately, the letters show Jackie’s feelings upon the impending inauguration and during her pregnancy. She coined the term “personal shopper’’ in these letters by asking O’Connor to shop for her at Barneys in New York.
The letters are part of the second day of the Legends auction summit, Nov. 22-24.
Bill signing pens
This is a collection of 50 pens all used to sign pieces of important legislation into action, including the Civil Rights Act by Lyndon Johnson and the Peace Corps Act by Kennedy. Of the pens, 17 of them were used by JFK and the rest by Johnson.
The entire collection, sold as one piece by McInnis Auctioneers, is part of the second session of their auction summit, Nov. 22-24.
JFK with 1948 Red Sox
A Trans World Media Syndicate photo collection followed JFK on his congressional campaign trail in 1948. It shows a variety of shots, but most interestingly, shows Jack with the 1948 Red Sox team. JFK was a loyal Sox fan.
All the photos are part of lots included on day two of the McInnis auction summit, Nov. 22-24.
Lee Harvey Oswald’s ring
Lee Harvey Oswald’s wedding band that he left at his wife’s bedside the morning of Kennedy’s assassination was sold by New Hampshire-based RR Auction for $108,000 in October. The Texas buyer wished to remain anonymous.
Kennedy’s 1960s rosary, showing signs of constant use, was gifted to his long-time best friend and assistant David Powers. The rosary was part of an October auction that also included the car in which JFK and his wife, Jackie, rode in hours before his death, and the sixth-floor window in which Lee Harvey Oswald is accused of perching to assassinate the president.
Lee Harvey Oswald’s Dallas police mug shot after he was arrested for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was part of the October auction put on by RR Auction in Boston at the Omni Parker Hotel, the site where JFK proposed to Jackie and where many of his speeches were delivered.
1963 Christmas card
In the days before his death, John F. Kennedy had begun signing the annual White House Christmas cards. This 1963 card is a rare item surrounding the former president.
RR Auction sold it for $21,013.
Before he left his hotel in Dallas, John F. Kennedy created this drawing of a sail boat on hotel paper. The president was known for filling his notes with doodles and sketches, often of boats.
RR Auction sold it for $32,270.
This Bulova watch was given to John F. Kennedy in 1941, as commemorated by the engraving on the band. Bobby Livingston, marketing executive of RR Auctionsold it for $25,428.
Early signed photograph
This candid photo of a John F. Kennedy in his twenties is the earliest known signed photograph of the president. It dates to the early 1940s and is signed “Remember Me! Jack K.’’
RR Auction sold it for $6,082.
JFK Hyannis Museum Foundation
For those JFK and history buffs who wish to commemorate the former president without splurging can visit the two places dedicated to him. The gift shop has popular souvenirs that visitors can take away to have a piece of Jack’s history without bidding in a big auction.
The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum Foundation has a multimedia exhibit chronicling the days the former president and his family spent on Cape Cod. Various features in the museum highlight the years 1934 to 1963.
John Allen, executive director of the museum, said the store sells a wide variety of items, including pencils, postcards, mugs, and tree ornaments. The most popular item, however, is books. Allen said biographies of JFK, Jackie, and his family are the shop’s best sellers.
Pictured: “The Letters of John F. Kennedy’’ was released earlier this year and is expected to be in demand at the Hyannis gift shop.