6 items of Kennedy’s ‘Camelot’ years we’d love to own

By Antoinette Rahn

Although it’s been more than 50 years since President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jackie Kennedy occupied the White House, and decades of public opinion surrounding the extended Kennedy family, interest in the Kennedy’s and ‘Camelot’ remains. Intrigue often grows during periods when items of Kennedy memorabilia are discovered and/or presented for sale at auctions.

Memories in the Making

In light of what would have been the President and First Lady’s 64th wedding anniversary, they were wed the morning of (Sept. 12, 1953), we are taking a look at six items of memorabilia related to the couple and family that we would love to own as a part of our own collections.

Each of these items is featured in The Kennedy Era Auction that will be presented by Guernsey’s on Oct. 7. Each of the items with ties to America’s 35th president is from the personal collection of Mary Gallagher, who served as the First Lady’s personal secretary from 1957 to 1964. 

All photos courtesy Guernsey’s

1. Framed and matted White House print distributed by Lyndon B. Johnson on behalf of Jacqueline Kennedy the Christmas following President Kennedy’s assassination. It is a photo reproduction of the Casimir Bohn lithograph “Mill’s Colossal Equestrian Statue of Gen. Andrew Jackson,” personally signed and inscribed by Jacqueline Kennedy to Mary Gallagher, former personal secretary to the First Lady from 1957 to 1964, and reads: For Mary- who did so much to help me and the President and helped to make our years here such happy ones Jacqueline Kennedy December 1963.” This print carries a presale estimate of $1,500 to $2,000 into the sale.

Pens, Photos, and Poetry 

2. Green and silver toned 5” cartridge pen used by JFK on board the “Honey Fitz” while at Newport, Rhode Island on September 13, 1963. On that particular day, President and Mrs. Kennedy went sailing with close friends Mr. and Mrs. Ben Bradlee. The pen has an estimate of $600 to $800.

3. Three hand-signed black and white photographs of the couple, with a young Caroline sitting on the President’s lap. The photographs were taken during the President’s 1960 presidential campaign and signed by both the President and the First Lady. The lot has a presale estimate of $2,000 to $3,500.

4. “The New Modern American & British Poetry,” published by Harcourt Brace and Company, 1939, New York, Chicago and edited by Louis Untermeyer, and among the school books young Jackie used during elementary school, as a student at Mrs. Chapin’s School in New York. The book bears the note “Jacqueline Bouvier / Class 5 / 1939” in the young handwriting of the woman who would later become the First Lady. It comes into the sale with an estimate of $3,000 to $4,000.

Nod to Kennedy’s Love of Sailing

5. Tan windbreaker jacket that was worn by JFK and recovered from his yacht, the “Honey Fitz”. The sea vessel was said to have been named after President Kennedy’s maternal grandfather and was known to take it out on the Potomac from time to time. The jacket, in the style of a McGregor Scottish Drizzler, comes before bidders with an estimate of $8,000 to $10,000.

6. How’s this for a change of address? The moment I saw it, the theme song for the television show “The Jeffersons” came to mind….”We’re moving on up…”. This simple, yet elegant black and white glass plate bears the appearance of a change-of-address card for the President and First Lady, with the date of his inauguration as the date the new address would take affect. This item heads into Guernsey’s auction with an estimate of $300 to $400.

In addition to items of Kennedy memorabilia, the 373-lot auction also includes Cold War era espionage items from The Francis Gary Powers Espionage Collection. The auction will be presented Oct. 7 by Guernsey’s

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