John F. Kennedy’s Last Autograph?

Of possible interest to all you autograph hounds out there, JFK items have been in the news lately.

This CNN article tells of the recent sale of what may well have been President Kennedy’s last autograph, written on the front page of the Dallas Morning Herald on November 22nd, 1963.  He signed the paper for a maid named Jan White as he entered the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce on his way to give a breakfast speech that morning.  Later that day in Dallas, he was of course felled by an assassin’s bullets.     

And here’s another article from MSNBC which discusses the newspaper auction above as well as that of an autographed photograph of Kennedy, ca. 1956.

The signed newspaper sold for about $39,000, while the photograph went for over $4,000.

Why do people pay so much for ordinary items like this?  As an employee of the gallery which sold the photo put it, “What people are buying is the mystique.  They are taking home the autograph knowing that this person once actually touched this item, this person once actually left this imprint, this signature.”

The library has some books on autograph collecting, including Charles Hamilton’s The Book of Autographs:  An Introduction to the Joys and Techniques of Autograph Collecting by the World’s Fore-most Authority; and The Standard Guide to Collecting Autographs:  A Reference & Value Guide by Mark Allen Baker.  

I especially think the Hamilton book would be a good one.  Hamilton gained considerable notoriety in 1983 for his determination that the so-called Hitler diaries were fakes — after they had been authenticated by the famous historian, Hugh Trevor-Roper.

Of course, Greensboro Public Library also has lots of books on John F. Kennedy and the assassination.  It’s hard to believe we’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the latter.

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One Response

  1. I have the last autograph from outside the Hotel as JFK was gettting into car in Ft Worth. Picture of my dad from Star telegram photo. Autograph is sealed. I am in archives at 6th Floor Museum in Dallas about interview of this .

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