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February 18, 2013

Prices soar above expectations at JFK auction

AMESBURY, Mass. — A one-of-a-kind Air Force One leather bomber jacket worn by John F. Kennedy sold for a jaw-dropping $570,000 in a much-anticipated auction of the former president’s possessions.

Among the early highlights were a signed copy of Kennedy’s book “Why England Slept,” the published thesis he wrote while in his senior year at Harvard that went for $4,500, and a copy of Robert Donovan’s book “PT 109,  John F. Kennedy in World War II,” signed by the president in 1961, which fetched $7,600.

They were among more than 2,000 pieces of memorabilia related to the fomer president, who were owned by the late David Powers,  JFK’s personal adviser  and close friend.

Perhaps the highlight of the auction was the brown leather bomber jacket, which had a pre-auction price of $20,000 to $40,000.

The jacket, which has the presidential seal sewn on the front, was given to Powers shortly before the president was assassinated 50 years ago. It came with a color photograph of Kennedy wearing it while watching the America’s Cup race. It was apparently also loaned to President Ronald Reagan, and the auction includes a letter from Reagan to Powers thanking him for the jacket.

It was sold to an unidentified buyer on the phone, who shelled out $570,000, plus an 18 percent buyer’s premium and 6.25 percent sales tax, for the piece of nostaligia.

Details for this story were provided by The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass.

Other auction highlights

$570,000: Price paid for Kennedy’s Air Force One leather bomber jacket; pre-auction price was $20,000 to $40,000.

$21,000: Price paid for an American flag that flew at the White House during the Kennedy administration; pre-auction price was $3,000 to $6,000.

$16,000: Price paid for a Kennedy administration White House seal used in the West Wing; pre-auction price was $2,000 to $4,000.

$9,750: Price paid for a photo of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on their wedding day signed by the couple; pre-auction price was $2,000 to $5,000.

$6,000: Price paid for Kennedy adviser David Powers’ desk from the White House.

$4,250: Price paid for a little photo of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis captured in the mirror taking a photo; pre-auction price was $100 to $200,

1,000: Approximate number of bidders online and on the phone based around the world.

350: Number of bidders in-house at John F. McInnis Auctioneers. Each bidder was allowed one guest. The auction house was at capacity for the event.

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