Original vintage signed pencil sketch of Jacqueline Kennedy on the reverse of an 8.5 x 11 letter he received while in jail, signed in the lower right, “Jack Ruby.” The initial letter, undated but circa 1964, was written by prominent lawyer Melvin M. Belli, in part: “I sincerely hope the new year brings you relief. The law in the Apellate Court will give it to you, if only your case could be heard. You know I have a brief on file for you…I have a deep and abiding conviction that if nothing else were filed this brief would reverse your conviction.” Intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through the right side of her face), otherwise fine condition. Serving out his sentence in the Dallas County Jail, Jack Ruby’s thoughts returned to the nation’s widow, an important figure in his mind. Testifying before the Warren Commission in June of 1964, he claimed that on the morning of the 22nd, overcome with emotion and sympathy for the grieving Mrs. Kennedy, he took justice into his own hands and assassinated Lee Harvey Oswald. ‘Someone owed it to our beloved President that she shouldn’t be expected to come back to face trial of this heinous crime.’ Sketched in his jail cell, most likely in the winter of ’64-65, based on Belli’s correspondence, this drawing offers an interesting glimpse into the mind of a killer, claiming to be motivated by the subject of his drawing. RR Auction COA.
Monthly Archives: October 2013
Two chairs and a table lamp from the presidential yacht Honey Fitz, gifted to former Petty Officer Hollis Beaty for years of faithful service to the Kennedys. The table lamp measures 31.5″ high from the square base to top of the shade, with a wooden faux thatch design and a braided pull tassle. The matching pair of wooden chairs measure approximately 30″ high and 28″ wide. The rataan-style chairs feature high arm rests and semi-circular backs with no manufacturer’s marks or stamps visible. Both come with matching green plaid cushions. In fine condition, with a couple trivial surface chips to lamps as well as a few scattered small separations to wood on chairs. Items come with an extensive folder of provenance, including service records from Beaty’s time on board the Honey Fitz and varied accounts from his wife, Judy Beaty, to whom the chairs passed upon his death.
Built by the Defoe Boat Works in Bay City, Michigan, and christened Lenore II in 1931, the Presidential Yacht took on a new life when sea-loving Kennedy took office. Renamed the Honey Fitz in honor of his maternal grandfather and personally redecorated by Jackie, the ship held some of the Kennedys’ happiest moments—weekends on the Cape, Christmas and Easter holidays at Palm Beach, autumn getaways to Hammersmith Farm, and John’s final surprise birthday party in 1963. Some of the most iconic photos of the windswept first family were taken on Honey Fitz’s decks, including one of the president’s favorite photos of himself, shown on the cover of Dave Powers’s ‘Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye.’ Inseparable from our thoughts of JFK, the yacht is a national treasure, and these pieces—taken straight from the ship and given to Petty Officer in Charge of Honey Fitz, Hollis Beaty, “required to meet and perform duties in the presence of VIP, including the President of the US”—are one-of-a-kind personal effects, capturing the president’s two deepest loves: his family and the sea. Never before seen on the market, these are items of the utmost rarity and desirability. RR Auction COA.
Lee Harvey Oswald’s blue and white bead baby necklace, worn by Oswald as a new born at the French Hospital in New Orleans. The intact necklace measures approximately 4.25″ long with his last name, “Oswald,” spelled out in black letters on white beads. Necklace is taped to an 8.5 x 11 off-white sheet, notated at the top by Oswald’s mother Marguerite, “Lee Harvey Oswald, Born N. O. La, October 18, 1939 at ‘The French Hospital,’ necklace around neck for identification, Sent to Mother-Dad at birth.” Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Oswald’s bother Robert, stating the necklace was worn by his brother and the notations on the sheet were done by his mother.
Original tag used to identify the body of Lee Harvey Oswald at the Parkland Hospital morgue, with affixed lock of hair and expected staining. Tag measures 3 x 4.75, with the date, “11/24/63,” the address “1026 N. Beckley,” and the name “Oswald, Lee Harvey” filled in in type. The remainder of the tag has been filled in by Dr. Tom Shires, Chief of Surgery at Parkland Memorial Hospital. He writes the time of death, “1307,” “Surg,” for surgery under “Service” and he signs his name, “Tom Shires” in the space beneath “Pronounced dead by Dr.” The “Admitting Office Notified” area has “1310” written beside it, meaning 1:10 PM, and the “Signature of Nurses” section has been left blank. Handwritten on the bottom third of the tag in the space marked “Use Addressograph Plate” is “EOR #25260 / Parkland Hospital / Dallas, Texas.” A lock of Oswald’s hair has been tied to the tag with white thread. This tag was removed by Jay Phillips, a 22-year-old Emergency Ambulance driver for the Miller Funeral Home in Fort Worth, Texas. Accompanied by a letter from Phillips to his parents detailing his trip to the hospital and how he acquired the tag. In part: “We rolled our cot down to the morgue and we were followed by dozens of cameramen. We went into the morgue and got Oswald out of the cooler and on to the cot. As we left we were filmed by every major news agency you could imagine…We then went to the funeral home and we were guarded by the police till we got rid of him…The tag is the toe tag I took off the body.” Also included is Phillips’s 1963 ambulance driver permit issued by the city of Fort Worth and a clipped newspaper article mentioning Phillips retrieving Oswald’s body from Dallas.
In fine overall condition, with some creases and light stains to tag. Provenance: The Pugliese Collection: Guernsey’s, 2008. RR Auction COA.
Two metal keys to the presidential limousine that Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Both keys are slightly longer than two inches and bear the Lincoln Motor Company’s logo impressed into the head. Includes a notarized statement from R. Steven Turner, in full: “This is an original set of keys to the Presidential limousine (SS-100-X) that President John F. Kennedy rode in on November 22, 1963. I obtained them from the Secret Service motor pool, while I was a criminal investigator with the Department of Justice.” Mounted, matted, and framed with an image of Kennedy riding in the limousine during the Dallas motorcade to an overall size of 14.25 x 17.25. In overall fine condition. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Erik L. Dorr.
The limousine that Kennedy was riding in during the ill-fated Dallas motorcade, code-named SS-100-X, was a 1961 Lincoln model 74A convertible modified to meet criteria set forth by the Secret Service. Although the conversion added over 2500 pounds to the weight of the vehicle, nothing was bulletproofed or armor-plated; the main security measures added were merely retractable steps and grab-handles for Secret Service agents. The car featured a hand-built 350-horsepower Ford MEL engine under the hood, which would have been started by the key on the left side of this display. The thinner key on the right side of the display would have been for the glove compartment and trunk. Kennedy’s convertible limousine is one of the most iconic elements in the story of the assassination—its open top a curse, providing fatal access to a would be shooter, and its powerful engine offering a final hope for life, racing toward Parkland Hospital after shots rang out over Dealey Plaza. The keys to this most important vehicle are true historical relics worthy of any museum-quality collection. RR Auction COA.
John F. Kennedy’s personally-owned Bulova watch. Gold-colored, manual wind wristwatch with a brass-hued face, featuring one blue hand on the main dial and one on the sub-dial. The solid case back is engraved with the numbers “1166568.” Watch is on a Pitman and Keeler overhand expansion metal watchband which features a gently curved presentation plate at the bottom, stylishly engraved, “JFK, 1941.” The hour hand potentially missing and working condition unknown, otherwise fine condition. Additional provenance information will be made available online at rrauction.com. RR Auction COA.
Original 1960 John F. Kennedy presidential campaign hat. Molded white plastic hat measures 11.5″ in diameter, with a red, white, and blue “Win With Kennedy” banner around the upper portion and a clipped circular portrait of Kennedy affixed to the top by two pieces of tape. Signed on the top image in black ballpoint by Kennedy. Signature was acquired at an October campaign rally in Paducah, Kentucky, and is accompanied by a letter of provenance from the original recipient. The letter reads, in part, “The John F. Kennedy autograph…was signed at a political rally at the airport in Paducah, Kentucky. It was either September or October 1960. My husband…had called to him so much that he came down off the platform to shake hands. I took off my hat and he signed it in our presence.” Also included are photocopies from the October 9, 1960, Paducah Sun-Democrat chronicling Kennedy’s visit and subsequent unscheduled handshaking. Tape on top evenly toned, a few small cracks to plastic, and a couple small tears to banner, otherwise fine condition. Despite Kennedy’s hands-on approach to campaigning through Kentucky, he would lose the state in the 1960 presidential election. RR Auction COA.
Presidential Lucite and black plastic Esterbrook fountain pen measuring 6” long, with “The President—The White House,” printed on the clear portion of the pen. Pen comes with its original cardboard box which is labeled in blue ink, “Humphry” [sic], along with “HR7500 87293 P.L.,” the identification numbers assigned to the bill and law, all most likely done in a White House employee’s hand. Pen was originally housed in the collection of William H. Perkins, Jr. Perkins served on Presidential Inaugural Committees in 1961, 1965, 1969, and 1973. He was a lifelong lobbyist, first for Continental Casualty where he arranged the insurance coverage for President Kennedy’s inauguration. In 1964, he was appointed by President Johnson as a member of the National Armed Forces Museum Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Institution; he was reappointed by Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.
Also included is a TLS, signed as president, one page, 6.5 x 8.5, White House letterhead, April 23, 1962. Letter to Rt. Rev. Msgr. William J. Murphy of Saint Joseph’s Church reads, in full: “It gives me great pleasure to send hearty greetings to you and through you to the members of Saint Joseph’s Church as you celebrate the centennial of its founding. I note that by a happy coincidence this, also, marks the 40th anniversary of your ordination. In sending best wishes to the congregation and to you, may I express the hope that all the fine things accomplished during the past may be but a forerunner of nobler achievements in the future.” Both the pen and letter are nicely cloth-matted and framed with a portrait of Kennedy to an overall size of 25.25 x 20. In fine condition. After first introducing the bill to create the Peace Corps in 1957, Humphrey played a key role in pushing Kennedy’s bill through the Senate; this pen is an exceptional token of appreciation from the president for his persistence. RR Auction COA.
Three complete wooden pickets from the original wooden fence from the top of the grassy knoll which separated Dealey Plaza from the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad yards. Each picket measures 2 x 58.5 and remain nailed to their three wooden cross members, each of which measure 7.5 x 2.25 x 1.5. Accompanied by a copy of a 2013 notarized statement from Stanley J. Szerszen who states, “I…removed three pickets from the original fence at the grassy knoll, Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas (approx. Nov. ‘89). The middle picket is identified in a before and after photo. The other two pickets came from a different section of the original fence. I assembled the three pickets on a original horizontal member, leaving all original nails.” Also included are color copies of the before and after photos, with the picket identified. In fine condition, with expected wear and weathering. A theory still contested today infer a second gunman was located behind this fence, with some witnesses stating that they saw a puff of smoke coming from the knoll at the time of the shots. In 1979, the House Assassinations Committee concluded that a fourth shot, which missed, was fired from behind the fence. Arguably the largest piece from the polarizing relic. RR Auction COA.
Oswald’s personally-owned and -used softcover workbook entitled “U. S. Marine Corps Score Book for U. S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1 and U. S. Carbine, Caliber .30, M1A1,” 80 pages, 6 x 3.75, filled out by Oswald on the front cover in pencil with his name, “Oswald, L. H.,” rifle number, “4314215,” organization, “2060 2nd R.T.V.,” and date issued, “3 Dec. ’56.” The first few pages contain instructions for shooting and scorekeeping, and bear a couple pencil notations by Oswald in the margins. The majority of the book consists of target diagrams and tables filled out in pencil by Oswald, plotting his shots on the diagrams and recording relevant details like date, elevation, and wind speed/direction. Oswald also generally indicates his firing position in the upper margin, such as “kneeling,” “sitting,” or “prone.” In total, Oswald completed 32 such pages throughout the month of December, with two being practice ‘samples’ and the rest his actual results. In very good to fine condition, with two toned tape remnants affixed to the front cover, light general soiling, and three small areas of surface loss to the back cover. Accompanied by interesting correspondence from 1969 between Marguerite Oswald and John Lattimer, a notable researcher of the Kennedy assassination, who originally purchased the score book from her; this includes one ALS from Marguerite, in part: “My late son’s Marine score book is in the same condition as when he left it with me…Someday soon it will be proven that a conspiracy did exist and that my son was indeed the ‘patsy.’”
On October 26, 1956, 17-year-old Oswald reported for duty at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, where he was assigned to the Second Recruit Training Battalion and began training in, among other things, the use of the M-1 rifle. His practice scores were reportedly not very good, but when his company fired for a record on December 21, he scored 212, two points above the score necessary to qualify as a sharpshooter (with the classification scale ranging from marksman to sharpshooter to expert). Over the next three years, his skill seemingly declined; a Marine in the same unit as Oswald in 1958 reported that he was frequently given the red flag in qualification firing, indicating a complete miss of the target, and when re-tested in May of 1959, Oswald qualified only as a marksman. It has been frequently argued that even an expert marksman would struggle to duplicate Oswald’s alleged feat in the assassination of Kennedy, hitting a moving target three times in less than nine seconds (the time has been heavily disputed, ranging from 5.6 to 8.3 seconds). Filled out by Oswald—who frequently lied about his actions—this book shows a high skill level, especially at longer distances in rapid fire. Offering a detailed and lengthy account of his earliest training results, this is an absolutely fascinating piece in the question of whether or not Oswald held the capability of carrying out the assassination. RR Auction COA.