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Press Release - November 14, 2003
Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers to Display Important and Unique John F. Kennedy Briefcase at Dallas Convention.DALLAS, TEXAS: Heritage Comics Auctions, a division of Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers, will conduct a multi-million dollar auction of Hollywood and music memorabilia, comic books, comic art, vintage movie posters and original American illustration art in Arlington, Texas, on Friday through Sunday November 21-23. As part of the festivities, Heritage will display (but will not offer for sale) what is arguably the most important Kennedy relic in private hands.
John F. Kennedy's personal briefcase, now said to be worth at least one million dollars, was a wedding gift from Jacqueline Bouvier in 1953. This briefcase, gold-stamped with the initials "JFK", was used by him through the White House years and is documented as being with Jackie when she moved out of the White House after the assassination. It was also used by John F. Kennedy, Jr. when he attended Brown University. The briefcase has been exhibited at several museums, and is accompanied by over ten pages of documentation. It has been called "The essence of Camelot!"
The briefcase was loaned to Heritage by John Reznikoff of University Archives (http://www.UniversityArchives.com), Westport, Connecticut. "We are extremely grateful to Mr. Reznikoff", said John Petty, Heritage Comics' Director of Auctions, "for allowing us to display this historic item here at Wizard World Texas, where thousands of Dallas area residents and visitors may come view it on the fortieth anniversary of President Kennedy's tragic assassination." It will be displayed at the convention under armed guard. It is also available to be shown at Heritage's offices in the weeks prior to the convention, but by appointment only.
At the auction, Heritage will offer a host of amazing items, including, among countless other raritiesone of the finest Elvis guitars in private hands, and Michael Kronick's extensive collection of props and other memorabilia from the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger (the son-in-law of President Kennedy's first cousin, and owner of JFK's personal cigar humidor, which Schwarzenegger purchased at Sotheby's several years ago for nearly $1 million at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis estate auction) and many of his Hollywood contemporaries.
The sale will be held on November 20-23 in Arlington, Texas, in conjunction with Wizard World Texas (http://wizarduniverse.com/conventions/texas.cfm), which is expected to be the largest popular culture convention in the history of the Southwest.
The famous and highly documented briefcase, made by Crouch & Fitzgerald of New York, was featured in their advertising, a copy of which will also be on view at the convention. Crouch & Fitzgerald also displayed it in their Madison Avenue window in 1999. An original certificate (http://www.heritagecomics.com/highlights/33969-002.jpg and http://www.heritagecomics.com/highlights/33969-003.jpg) attests to this fact and documents the purchase by Jacqueline Bouvier as a wedding present. The series in the New York Daily News (http://www.heritagecomics.com/highlights/33969-005.jpg) about the book "A Woman Named Jackie" quotes "Neighbors and curiosity seekers jammed the street to watch a procession of movers transport the family's possessions and personal effects - a long rack containing Jackie's fur coats, Caroline's two-wheeler bicycle, a series of boxes marked ?John Jr.'s toys' and identical cages housing the children's pet parakeets. The onlookers also saw a sad reminder - a briefcase with the initials 'JFK', her wedding present to him." After Jackie brought it home, it probably lay as a valued family relic in the Kennedy household.
Fast-forward a decade and a half and John-John is attending the prestigious Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. People Magazine's "The Sexiest Man Alive" carried his long-gone dad's briefcase with him to class. The generous soul that he was known to be, he gave the briefcase to his fraternity brother, Richard Wiese. An original notarized letter of Richard Wiese accompanies the case. It reads: "December 5, 1998 To whom it may concern, This letter is to certify that the brown briefcase with the initials JFK was given to me in 1981 by JFK JR, a fraternity brother of mine while I was a student at Brown University. President Kennedy used this briefcase while at the White House. Sincerely, (signed) Richard Wiese." Printouts of Wiese's outstanding career in television are included with the provenance. Additionally, Brown's alumni magazine quotes Wiese "?If you really want to honor John' says Richard Wiese '81, one of Kennedy's fraternity brothers, ?think of some of the things he stood for,' such as humility and humanity. ?John was human just like everyone else, with his hopes, fears, anxieties, passions and disappointments. It would be a mistake to make him into something he was not.
And it would probably dishonor him.'" From Wiese, it made it to Martin F. Zweig, a trustee of the famous Museum of American Financial History on Wall Street. The museum is run by John Herzog, formerly of the well-known Wall Street firm that bears his name. According to the press release included with the paperwork, museum executive director Brian C. Thompson said, "It is the single most valuable gift to the museum's collection in its ten year history." From thence it was exhibited at The Florida International Museum (http://www.floridamuseum.org), where a permanent Kennedy collection of artifacts is housed, under the curatorship of Robert White. It was determined that the briefcase needed to be sold to help the budget of the museum. Some years ago, television's "History Channel's Lost and Found" Auction Block featured this briefcase. The briefcase is in very well traveled condition. Interestingly, it bears a U. S. Customs inspection stamp.
Further documenting its importance and adding significantly to its value, Mr. Reznikoff recently located a circa 1960 photograph in the new book, Remembering Jack: Intimate and Unseen Photographs of the Kennedys, by Jacques Lowe. The photo shows Senator and Democratic Presidential nominee John F. Kennedy on a campaign plane with the briefcase (http://www.heritagecomics.com/highlights/briefcase_closeup.jpg) clearly visible and placed next to one of his aides. One can only imagine what the briefcase contained on this trip, and throughout its decade-long history of ownership by JFK. Did it ever contain notes concerning the Cuban missile crisis, or perhaps some evidence of a clandestine tryst with Marilyn Monroe?
A briefcase with a sadder association (it was with him in Dallas when he was assassinated) - and no links to Jackie or JFK Jr. - sold at Guernsey's auctions in 1998 for $700,000 plus commission.
To learn about Heritage's auctions and view a huge archive of past prices realized along with full-color enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit http://www.HeritageComics.com.
To order the next three sale catalogs, visit Heritage's website to pay by credit card, or send a check or money order payable to Heritage Comics in the amount of $100 (a fraction of Heritage's actual cost-to-produce the catalogs, and fully refundable with any purchase) to: Norma Pedrero, c/o Heritage Comics, 100 Highland Park Village, 2nd Floor, Dallas, TX 75205.
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