President Kennedy Silver Box & Signed Robert F. Kennedy Letters

Value (2010) | $11,050 Auction$16,500 Auction
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GUEST:
It belonged to my Uncle Rip. After he passed away, his wife acquired it and kept it all together. And then after she passed away, it went to her son and then I bought it from him. My cousin had it in a storage unit down in North Carolina, and it was getting ready to go for auction and I just happened to find out through a casual conversation with my mother that that was getting ready to happen, so I called him and I said, "I'll give you a thousand dollars for everything in the unit, but I want the cigarette box." And he said, "Well, okay."

APPRAISER:
You had mentioned that your uncle had gone to school with JFK.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And so they had been lifelong friends.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
And through that he met Bobby and Ted, and that it was really a wonderful family relationship. We get an awful lot of autographed letters on the show, especially presidential. And most of the Bobby things are almost always autopen or secretarial signatures. So it's very unusual to see something that in fact has a signature that is authentic. We have two letters here. They're on the same stationery. They're dated only about a year difference, but one, the content is about Equal Employment Opportunity Conference. And this is a very kind of common, less sexy topic, but because it has a beautiful signature on it makes it more valuable. And then the other letter is referencing JFK, and that's terrific. Tell me a little bit about why the letters are charred on the edges.

GUEST:
They were damaged in the house fire that my Uncle Rip lost his life in.

APPRAISER:
Normally, condition is something that you take into account to discount the value of something, but in this particular case, it adds to the authenticity of it. The first letter, because of the content, is going to be about $300 to $500. The second letter, interesting enough, because of the reference to JFK, even though it's not signed by JFK, is going to be about $750 to $1,000.

GUEST:
Wow.

APPRAISER:
So, what's important is what it says.

GUEST:
Uh-huh.

APPRAISER:
So let's get to the box here. It's a silver cigarette box. What was this for?

GUEST:
It was a wedding gift to my aunt and uncle.

APPRAISER:
There were a lot of presents given from presidents to different people, 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, this is about an $80 to $100 box. As a piece of Kennedy memorabilia, this is going to be worth, at auction, about $10,000 to $15,000.

GUEST:
Seriously?

APPRAISER:
Seriously.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Heritage Auctions
New York, New York
Appraised value (2010)
$11,050 Auction$16,500 Auction
Event
Washington, DC (August 21, 2010)
Period
20th Century
Material
Paper, Silver

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