JFK Auction Includes Two Classic Lincolns, but Not Notorious Assassination Car | Edmunds

JFK Auction Includes Two Classic Lincolns, but Not Notorious Assassination Car

Just the Facts:
  • Two classic Lincolns are among items related to President John F. Kennedy that will be put up for auction on October 24.
  • A white 1963 Continental was used to transport the presidential party from a Fort Worth hotel to an Air Force base for the fateful trip to Dallas on November 22, 1963.
  • Also in the auction is a black Continental limousine that served as one of the president's personal vehicles in Washington, DC.

AMHERST, New Hampshire — Fifty years after John F. Kennedy's assassination, a huge collection of items related to the late president, including two classic Lincoln Continentals, will be put up for auction in Boston on October 24.

Although neither of the Lincolns is the car in which Kennedy was riding when he was shot — that 1961 Continental limousine is now on display at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan — they are, nevertheless, significant historical artifacts in their own right.

One is a white 1963 Continental that was used to transport the president, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally from a breakfast speech at a Fort Worth hotel to Carswell Air Force Base, where they boarded a plane for a flight to Dallas. That was on the morning of November 22, 1963, the fateful day on which Kennedy was assassinated.

After being returned to the Fort Worth auto dealer who loaned the car for the president's visit, it was sold to David Pelham of Dallas in 1964, and in 1967 Pelham sold it to the Tragedy in U.S. History Museum in St. Augustine, Florida. When the museum closed in 1998, the Lincoln was sold at public auction.

The car has since been restored by Lincoln specialists Baker Restoration of Putnam, Connecticut. The engine has been replaced and bodywork and paint refurbished, but most of the interior, including the red leather seats, is still in original condition.

According to RR Auction, which is handling the sale, this was "the last automobile to safely carry Kennedy before his tragic death in Dallas, making it a historically significant and one-of-a-kind piece marking the end of Camelot." With plenty of documentation to validate the car's provenance, including photographs, bills of sale and independent certification, the opening bid is set at $50,000.

The second Lincoln is a black 1960 Continental limousine that was part of the White House motor pool during the Kennedy administration. Among other duties, it served as one of the president's personal transport vehicles in the Washington, D.C., area.

Having been leased from Ford for $500 per year, the car made its way back into the public market, where it was purchased in March of 1964 by Dr. James C. Walsh, who donated it to Kirkland Hall College in Maryland. It was later sold at a fundraising auction to George W. DeFranceaux, who loaned it out to a long-term exhibit, after which it, too, ended up at the Tragedy in U.S. History Museum before being sold again at auction.

The bulletproof limo features a divider window, rear passenger climate controls, and a two-way telephone. The body has been restored, but the interior remains mostly original, with beige leather seats and matching carpeting.

RR Auctions calls it "a classic, show-worthy car with excellent association to the president" and has placed the starting bid at $25,000.

Other items in the 290-piece auction, called "50 Years after Dallas," include the president's own engraved rosary, a pair of rotary telephones from the presidential suite at the Hotel Texas from which Kennedy made his last phone call, and a wedding ring worn by assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

One somewhat strange artifact in the auction is the sixth-floor window and frame from the Texas School Book Depository, from which the fatal shots were fired. The window was removed several weeks after the assassination by the building's owners because souvenir-hunters kept breaking off pieces and stealing them. It was later displayed at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas before being sold to a private collector.

Interested bidders can register at the RR Auctions Web site.

Edmunds says: We'd eagerly take one of these historic Lincolns but probably leave the window.

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