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JFK memorabilia heads to NYC auction block

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy pose at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington with their son, John F. Kennedy Jr., following his baptism in 1960. An eclectic array of memorabilia, including a speedboat, will be offered at auction next week alongside a slice of Cold War espionage intrigue.

NEW YORK >> An eclectic array of memorabilia from the late President John F. Kennedy, including a speedboat, will be offered at auction next week alongside a slice of Cold War espionage intrigue.

The auction by Guernsey’s Oct. 6-7 in New York City will feature Kennedy’s restored 17-foot mahogany speedboat, which comes complete with an unusual name and a fun family story.

Kennedy patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. had a boat named “Tenovus” — a creatively spelled reference to the number of Kennedy family members at the time: “ten of us.”

Later, when he won the speedboat in a church raffle, it got the name “Restofus” — a nod to the “rest of us” in the expanding family. That became JFK’s personal boat. After the nation’s 35th president died, the boat went to his brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, and then to other owners. Its presale estimate is $100,000 to $150,000.

Other nautically themed offerings include a porcelain demitasse cup and saucer, trimmed with 24 karat gold, from the presidential yacht U.S.S. Honey Fitz (estimate $800 to $1,200.) There’s also a pair of Kennedy’s brick-red linen swimming trunks ($3,000 to $4,000); and the first lady’s teal one-piece swimsuit ($4,000 to $6,000).

The wide array of Camelot-lots — over 500 — includes documents, photos, stationery, even inscribed sterling silver baby toothbrushes.

There are numerous consignors. The core of the sale comes from the collections of Lt. Henry Hirschy, who worked at the White House; Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal secretary, Mary Gallagher; and CIA operative Francis Gary Powers, whose story was the basis for Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies.”

Powers, a pilot for the CIA’s U-2 program, was arrested after his spy plane was shot down over Soviet airspace in 1960.

The collection includes his orange flight suit ($10,000 to $15,000), worn in numerous U-2 test missions, along with an undershirt and brown lace-up boots.

And, yes, spies did really wear trench coats back in the day: in Powers’ case, one black and one tan, estimated at $2,500 to $3,500 apiece.

They also had to answer the call of nature, like everybody else — resulting in a very quirky lot. Described by auctioneers as a “historic and straightforward piece of equipment,” the plastic and metal “containment vessel” allowed Powers to relieve himself during long flights. It has a presale estimate of $2,000 to $3,000.

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