Two original watercolor paintings by John F. Kennedy, done in 1960, will be sold Nov. 22-24

  • AMESBURY, Massachusetts
  • /
  • November 07, 2013

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This watercolor painting, done in 1960 by John F. Kennedy, before he became President, will be sold Nov. 22-24.
John McInnis Auctioneers

(Amesbury, MA.) - As the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination approaches, the media and the entire world is recalling not only that tragic day but also celebrating the life of John F. Kennedy, his family, and the legacy of Camelot. Beginning on November 22nd, John McInnis Auctioneers in Amesbury, MA will present “THE LEGENDS AUCTION”. This event holds within it intrigue, mystery, controversy, and fact. In three sessions over three days over 1,500 lots will be sold related to President Kennedy, his family and his contemporaries from that important era in American history: Hollywood mogul Milton Ebbins, President Kennedy’s brother-in-law Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, Marilyn Monroe, Ernest Hemingway and many more.

The sale will begin with a completed Warren Report, autographed by each of the commission members, original Associated Press wire bulletins from the days surrounding the President’s death, and the Wall Street ticker tape from the day of the shooting.

“A Tribute to Jackie,” is a collection of 55 signed photos by world-renowned photographer Jacques Lowe, who personally selected the images, which cover the years 1958 through 1963. The collectio has toured the country on exhibition, and proceeds from the sale of these photographs will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Lowe’s negatives were stored at the World Trade Center and were destroyed on September 11, 2001.


A collection of Ernest Hemingway handwritten letters, signed books, private photographs, and bullfighting memorabilia comes from the Estate of his personal secretary and close friend Roberto Herrera Sotolongo, a Spanish expat that lived in Cuba. The letters and photos reveal a colorful and complex portrait of the author in the last decade of his life.

Other lots reveal intimate portraits of the Kennedy family and friends at work and at play. There are many items and photos from JFK’s cherished days by the sea in Hyannis Port including the rocking chair from the “Summer White House” in Hyannis Port. There is a collection including JFK’s cashmere blazer and other personal items from the estate of Kirk Lemoyne “Lem” Billings, JFK’s prep school roommate and lifelong friend. As young men, Billings and Kennedy toured Europe, and even bought a dog together. Billings served as an usher at JFK’s wedding, was a frequent guest with his own room at the White House, and remained close with the Kennedy family after JFK’s death. Items from the collection of Willy Schaeffler, former US Ski Team coach, ski resort designer, and close friend of Bobby and Ethel, also show rare photos of the Kennedy’s sporting and leisure lives including images of ski vacations, white water rafting and camping trips, and vacationing in Cape Cod.

Professional photographs and negatives, most previously unpublished, will include additional work by Jacques Lowe, the negatives from an engagement photoshoot of John F. & Jacqueline Kennedy by famed photographer Hy Peskin, a collection of Kennedy photos from Cape Cod based photojournalist Frank Falacci, and iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and others by celebrity photographer Frank Mastro, as well as a rare and masterful dye transfer print by Owen Brown. A collection of negatives from the photographers who contributed to the Trans World Media Syndicate includes hundreds of incredibly rare images from JFK’s 1946 Congressional and 1952 Senate Campaigns including those of a young Kennedy in the dugout with Ted Wiliams and other Red Sox players at Fenway Park.

On Sunday, the third session will consist of an astonishing collection from the heir of Hollywood mogul Milton Ebbins, manager, business partner and close friend of actor Peter Lawford, President Kennedy’s brother-in-law. Together, Milton Ebbins and Peter Lawford served as liaisons between Hollywood and the Kennedy White House during the golden age of Camelot. The collection in this sale includes the records of Chrislaw Productions, the production company formed by Ebbins and Lawford. The company’s records were given to Milt by Peter when the company was dissolved and were held hidden in storage for over four decades. Records related to John F. Kennedy’s Presidential campaign reveal how for the first time in history, a candidate utilized Hollywood’s influence on the American public to win a Presidential election. A sequence of files include correspondence, notes and other items documenting how Frank Sinatra and Peter Lawford spearheaded the planning of President Kennedy’s Inaugural Gala. On May 29, 1962, President Kennedy was fêted at Madison Square Garden for his 45th birthday party. Among other items from that event, this collection includes Peter Lawford’s own original speech introducing the habitually tardy Marilyn Monroe. Milton Ebbins was backstage helping her get dressed, and in footage from that evening he can be seen running offstage after pushing Marilyn onstage as she went out to sing her sultry version of “Happy Birthday”.

In addition to the items related to President Kennedy, the files give us a behind-the-scenes view of Tinsel Town in the 1960s and the inner workings and day-to-day operations of a Hollywood production company. There are Party plans and guest lists, movie scripts including the original Ocean’s Eleven scripts, casting notes, the ransom note from the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra’s son Frank Jr., private phone logs and more related to the many of the Kennedys, the The Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr. and Joey Bishop; Marilyn Monroe and her death, Patty Duke, Jerry Lewis, Bing Crosby, Mort Sahl, Rosemary Clooney, Elizabeth Montgomery, Count Basie, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, Marlon Brando and many, many more.

With over 1,500 lots it is impossible to touch on all of the highlights. Among the more interesting and unusual lots are three original watercolors hand painting by John F. Kennedy, the President’s Fedora, recently declassified Cuban Missile Crisis material from the Estate of Dave Powers, the baby grand piano from Jackie’s childhood home on Hammersmith Farm; Jackie Kennedy’s fashion correspondence, shoes and handbags, Peter Lawford’s trademark velvet “fox” slippers, one of four original bronze sculptures by Felix de Weldon of President Kennedy, “A Golden Era of Legislative Achievement” framed collection of 50 bill signing pens used by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to sign iconic pieces of legislation into effect, including the Civil Rights Act, the Peace Corps, and the “Man on the Moon” bill.

Please note: Before 3 pm on Friday November 22, the gallery will be open for the preview exhibition only. Out of respect for this somber anniversary, the gallery will allow quiet time and moments of silence so that those like-minded individuals may honor the memory of President Kennedy. The entire collection with full descriptions and estimates is available online at John McInnis Auctioneers is located at 76 Main Street, Amesbury, MA.

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John McInnis Auctioneers
76 Main Street
Amesbury, Massachusetts
(978) 388-0400

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