NEW YORK – A mahogany speedboat that belonged to John F. Kennedy sold for $75,000, and a flight suit that belonged to CIA operative Francis Gary Powers sold for $2,750 Saturday at a New York auction of Kennedy-era memorabilia.
The sale at Guernsey’s included a wide array of Camelot-era lots, including documents, photos, stationery and even inscribed sterling silver baby toothbrushes.
A rocking chair that Kennedy used in the White House, specially made for him because of a back injury, sold for $30,000. A second rocking chair used by both Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, who served after Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, sold for $10,000.
Among the more romantic items was the 17-foot speedboat, a 1961 Century Resorter. Kennedy used the vessel when he was at home in Hyannis, Massachusetts.
The nautical history starts with family patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., who had a boat named “Tenovus,” a reference to the number of Kennedy family members at the time: ten of us.”
Later, when he won the speedboat in a church raffle, it got the name “Restofus,” a nod to the “rest of us” in the expanding family. That became JFK’s personal boat. After the nation’s 35th president died, the boat went to his brother, Edward M. Kennedy, and then to other owners.
A blue bathing suit that belonged to first lady Jacqueline Kennedy sold for $1,800, and two pairs of swimming trunks owned by President Kennedy sold for $3,500 and $1,800.
The core of the sale came from the collections of Henry Hirschy, who was a Navy aide in the White House during the Kennedy administration; Mary Gallagher, who was Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal secretary, and Powers.
In one of the landmark episodes of the Cold War, Powers was captured in the Soviet Union after his spy plane was shot down in 1960.
The U.S. initially tried to cover it up, inventing a story about a NASA weather plane going off course, and was embarrassed when the Soviets produced Powers alive.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day's top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter