BOSTON – A remarkable assortment of 19 original negatives of President John F. Kennedy sold for $9,492 at RR Auction on May 8. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
The images were taken at the Kennedys’ Palm Beach residency at 1095 N. Ocean Boulevard, in December 1962 and January 1963. The images were taken by photographer Eddie Johnson, who traveled to the Kennedys’ “Winter White House” as the personal assistant of Elaine de Kooning, a portrait artist commissioned to paint President Kennedy’s official portrait for the Truman Library.
A total of nine film strips, feature 19 images of either JFK, De Kooning, or both, with all but two images featuring the president, who is either captured in a full-length stance or in a seated pose reading or conversing with Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman.
The negatives include their original sleeves, which are dated either Dec. 29, 1962, or Jan. 3, 1963. Also included are two 35mm negative strips, with one containing six images and the other three images, with subjects similar to the above negatives. Additionally, the lot features four handwritten letters and one typed letter from photographer Johnson to his family, accompanied by a group of 13 modern photo prints of the president and De Kooning.
“We believe that many of the images have never-been-seen and provide a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at De Kooning capturing her vision of JFK as president,” said Bobby Livingston, executive VP at RR Auction.
Among other Kennedy related lots was Father James Thompson’s rosary that was present with him at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, which sold for $13,401. Father Thompson, alongside Father Oscar Huber, administered the last rites to President John F. Kennedy and comforted First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy with prayer in her time of grief. The rosary has silvery pearl-type beads strung on a fine metal chain and features a sterling silver crucifix and centerpiece medal.
The lot included two rare copies of pamphlets of the four-page memoir Around One O’Clock, where Thompson outlines the events of fateful November day, offering yet another firsthand perspective of the tragedy, a funerary cross that belonged to Father Thompson, and a funeral card honoring the priest.
Among other Kennedy lots, Jacqueline Kennedy’s gray wool maternity dress, as seen in photographs taken by Life magazine photographer Edward Clark, sold for $6,456.
Addition highlights from the sale included:
– Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for The Times They Are-a-Changin’ sold for $69,515.
– Steve McQueen’s annotated script for The Thomas Crown Affair sold for $34,370.
– An astronaut archive, 1,500 pieces, including photos, negatives and transparencies from the Golden Age NASA sold for $16,667.
– Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky signatures obtained by French journalist shortly after the historic October Revolution of 1917 sold for $64,000.