Map JFK used during Cuban Missile Crisis sells for $138K

President John F. Kennedy presented the ‘victory map’ (inset) to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (right) following the Cuban Missile Crisis. White House photograph, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Boston

BOSTON (AP) – A map of Cuba that President John F. Kennedy referred to during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 has sold at auction for nearly $140,000.

The map that Kennedy called his “victory map ” was sold by Boston-based RR Auction during an auction that ended Wednesday.

The map shows the position of every Soviet missile, bomber and fighter jet, and nuclear storage facility in Cuba as of noon, October 27, 1962, and includes the nine targets that American planes would have bombed had Kennedy ordered air strikes on the island.

The map is marked “Secret” in the lower left and upper right corners.

At auction, it was accompanied by a detailed letter of provenance that read, in part: “This ‘victory map’ was given to me about twenty years ago by Robert McNamara, the secretary of defense during the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. During a meeting at his office, McNamara described for me the pressure President John Kennedy was under from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to order an attack on Soviet targets in Cuba. McNamara said the president pored over this map before deciding to delay the attack.When Kennedy presented the map to McNamara, he called it the ‘victory map.’ During my meeting with McNamara, he said this was the only time he ever heard Kennedy say anything that sounded like gloating about how the crisis ended.”
In the annals of the Cold War, no event is more talked about and debated than the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 16, 1962 to October 28, 1962. It is considered the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war.
“This amazing map dates to a critically important day of the crisis—a day that saw an American pilot shot down over Cuba. Had Kennedy given the order to attack, this map shows the nine Soviet targets that American fighters would have bombed,” said Bobby Livingston, Executive VP at RR Auction. “It’s a remarkable, museum-quality Kennedy piece— the current political tension between the United States and Russia may have played a role in elevating interest, and helping the map achieve such an impressive figure.”
The winning bid came from a collector in Los Angeles with a deep appreciation for American History who wishes to remain anonymous.

View additional information about the map in the catalog listing on LiveAuctioneers.

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RR Auction contributed to this report.

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