November 9, 2015
License Plates Of John F. Kennedy's Assassination Limousine Sold On Auction With Menu From Titanic

Saturday saw an auction of several pieces of political and Americana memorabilia, including the license plates of the limousine in which U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, along with various other JFK-related articles. The menu from the final first-class dinner on the ill-fated RMS Titanic was also sold.

A set of license plates from the limousine that carried President Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy through downtown Dallas back on November 22, 1963, were sold Saturday to an anonymous bidder by Heritage Auctions in that city.

After the assassination of President Kennedy, the limousine was sent to be retrofitted, and during the process, a worker threw the plates into the trash. The owner of the business, Willard Hess, rescued the plates from the garbage can and stored them on a shelf in his office between two books.

John F. Kennedy
[Image via Heritage Auctions Dallas]

After Hess died, his daughter, Jane Walker, inherited the license plates, and she stored them in a kitchen drawer for many years. She told the Guardian that she did realize the significance of the license plates and that she did, on occasion, take them out to show them to her friends.

The license plates from John F. Kennedy's limousine now belong to an unnamed bidder who paid $100,000 for them during Saturday's auction.

The license plates were not the only JFK-related memorabilia on offer at the auction. Also listed was the U.S. passport issued to John F. Kennedy while he was still a Congressman back in 1951. The passport held many stamps bearing witness to his visits to various countries in Asia, the Far East, and Europe.

John F. Kennedy
[Image via Heritage Auctions Dallas]

Alongside this passport was that of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The latter passport was issued to Jacky on May 20, 1953, under her maiden name, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, and was amended on August 13, 1954, to reflect her married surname of Kennedy. This passport is reportedly the only existing passport belonging to Jacqueline Kennedy to be held privately.

Of interest to note, the passport was purchased by the current owner during a December 2005 auction, where it was sold for $67,800, which turned out to be more than John F. Kennedy's passport fetched at the time.

While the two passports were listed on the website of Heritage Auctions in Dallas, the auctioneers merely asked for offers, and there is no news as to whether either passport was taken by a bidder.

As can be seen on the Heritage Auctions site, there was also a well-used leather wallet and a 1959-61 Massachusetts driver's license belonging to John F. Kennedy on offer, as well as many other personal items belonging to JFK and other political figures, along with a mint-condition photo of James B. "Wild Bill" Hickok.

The auction also saw what is likely the last copy of the dinner menu served to first-class passengers on the night before the RMS Titanic infamously hit the iceberg and sank.

Titanic memorabilia
[Image via Heritage Auctions Dallas]

The menu was for the passengers' dinner on the night of April 14, 1912, and on the menu are the names and addresses of five businessmen who had taken dinner together that night. According to Heritage Auctions, four of those five businessmen survived the tragedy.

The names of the businessmen were listed on the auctioneer's website as being Edward P. Calderhead from New York City, Spencer V. Silverthorne of St. Louis, George E. Graham from Winnipeg, Canada, James R. McGough from Philadelphia, and John Irwin Flynn of Brooklyn. Apparently, Calderhead, Flynn, and McGough worked together as buyers for Gimbel's Department Store.

RMS Titanic
[Image via Heritage Auctions Dallas]The menu was sold to an anonymous bidder at Saturday's auction for $118,750.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons by Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News / Public Domain]