Unique JFK items featured in two auctions this week

Meeting notes, signed letters among JFK auctions up for bid

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Many of the documents signed by John F. Kennedy were preserved by his secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, left. (Credit: Getty Images)

While George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are gaining a lot more interest among collectors, John F. Kennedy has always led the way as the most collectible U.S. president.

This week, two auction houses, RR and University Archives, have some very unique JFK items hitting the market.

Notes from Nov. 21, 1963, meeting

Kennedy's notes from a meeting the day before his assassination are up for bid at RR Auctions.
Kennedy's notes from a meeting the day before his assassination are up for bid at RR Auctions.

RR’s strongest piece might be a single page of doodles on Rice Hotel stationery that JFK made during his three hours in Houston on the day before his death. Four total pages were pulled out of the garbage by his secretary Evelyn Lincoln.

RR previously sold two other doodles, including one of a sailboat for $32,943 in 2013. Expect this one to sell for around that price and maybe more.

Signed birthday letter

Christmas cards for 1963 that were signed in advance by Kennedy and his wife, Jackie, but never sent, typically sell for $12,000 to $15,000. University Archives is offering a rarer version of something “signed by JFK” that was mailed after his assassination.

The letter, dated Dec. 2, 1963, 10 days after JFK died, was signed by Kennedy before he left on his trip and post-dated. It was to be sent to Democratic congressman Harold T. Johnson for his birthday. We could easily see this auction getting to $10,000.

AP teletype from assassination

There have been plenty of people who have saved the Associated Press teletype from the day of JFK’s assassination. RR has one of the better copies. It’s 16 pages in length, and it’s uncut.

The issue with this relic is that, as of now, PSA isn’t slabbing non-autographed documents, which lessens the value of pieces like these.

Texas Book Depository lunch table

There are a bunch of obscure items being auctioned that won’t be too expensive, but also have tenuous connections.

RR is offering a table from the Texas Book Depository lunch room that has been photo-matched to pictures at the time. Lee Harvey Oswald told investigators that he had lunch on the second floor.

If it was the Coke machine from which Oswald got his Coke, it would be a $50,000 piece, but it’s just one of a bunch of tables. Expect it to go in the $4,000 range.

LBJ's hotel key

RR is also offering the key from the $100-a-night room LBJ was in at the Rice Hotel the night before JFK’s assassination. The issue with the key is that the provenance comes from the early 1990s, and the 30-year gap makes it harder to confirm this key is definitely the one.

Piece of Dealey Plaza fence

If you want a substative wood piece from the Dealey Plaza fence, you now have a chance. RR offers this long piece from the collection of Kennedy collector Jay Estes, who says he got it when the fence was being replaced in 1981. Not saying it isn’t real, but the 17-year gap is problematic.

Darren Rovell is the founder of cllct.com and one of the country's leading reporters on the collectible market. He previously worked for ESPN, CNBC and The Action Network.