From Andy Warhol pop art to autographed photos, exceptional President John F. Kennedy memorabilia always grabs attention on the rare occasion it appears at the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW appraisal table. As we approach the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination on November 22nd, and the broadcast premiere of JFK, a new biography from AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW takes a look at some of the material history that shaped the Kennedy family and gets an insider's perspective at the iconic images they left behind.
(Photo courtesy of Cecil W. Stoughton)
John F. Kennedy Inscribed Copy of Profiles in Courage Book
During ROADSHOW's 2004 visit to Portland, Oregon, the owner of a signed copy of Profiles in Courage (1956) met appraiser Francis Wahlgren to share her story about the Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by John F. Kennedy, then Massachusetts' junior senator. Encouraged by a friend, the owner had brought her copy of the book to a volunteer event where JFK would be, and this friend managed to have the future president sign it. "Everything stopped, the lights went on, and he signed it," the owner described. With its authentic JFK autograph, Wahlgren gave the book an auction value of $3,000 to $4,000.
One of the most widely recognized images of Jacqueline Kennedy, an Andy Warhol print titled "Jackie II," produced in 1966, showed up in El Paso during ROADSHOW's 2011 visit. Appraiser Meredith Hilferty evaluated the print, pointing out that it was an artist’s proof and came from a portfolio called "11 Pop Artists.' According to Hilferty, "Warhol prints are highly desirable. Jackie particularly is one of the images that people like. The replacement value on this print we would expect to be around $20,000."
1960 John F. Kennedy Campaign Poster
Appraiser Rudy Franchi spoke with the owner of a 1960 JFK presidential campaign poster at ROADSHOW's 2008 Dallas event. The owner had worked on Kennedy’s campaign as president of the Young Democrats at the University of North Texas. Franchi noted that the large campaign poster, which had originated from Kennedy's Texas headquarters, was still in very good condition. At a political collectibles auction, the campaign poster could fetch $6,000 to $8,000, Franchi said.
During ROADSHOW's 2011 visit to Pittsburgh, appraiser Stephen Massey met with a guest whose grandmother was the personal secretary to both Bobby Kennedy and Jack Kennedy in the early 1950s. Massey called the collection "moving … first-rate personal, typewritten notes" and estimated the archive's auction value at $15,000 to $20,000.
President Kennedy Silver Box & Signed Robert F. Kennedy Letters
During ROADSHOW's 2010 visit to Washington, D.C., expert Kathleen Guzman appraised a pair of letters from Robert F. Kennedy and a silver cigarette box the Kennedys gave as a wedding present to a former schoolmate of JFK's. "There were a lot of presents given from presidents to different people," Guzman said, "but the fact that it is from the President and his wife and dated the same year of his passing makes it really a wonderful collector's item." As a piece of silver, the box was worth about $80 to $100. But as a piece of Kennedy memorabilia, according to Guzman, the box has an auction value of $10,000 to $15,000.
Cecil Stoughton, who served both President Kennedy and his successor Lyndon B. Johnson as official White House photographer, paid a visit to ROADSHOW's 2008 appraisal event in Orlando. Stoughton had logged countless hours with the Kennedy family up until the President's assassination on November 22, 1963. He shared his fascinating insider's story with appraiser Francis Wahlgren, along with his collection of memorabilia, which included a Christmas card inscribed to him by the President and Mrs. Kennedy, the now iconic photo of LBJ being sworn in en route from Dallas back to Washington aboard Air Force One, and this photo of the President's casket and guard of honor in the East Room of the White House.
(Photo courtesy of Cecil W. Stoughton)