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Kennedys Secretly Bid On JFK Items

The Kennedy family secretly placed a bid for two diaries and a photo album at an auction featuring John F. Kennedy memorabilia, according to a published report.

Kennedy's children, Caroline and John Jr., already had succeeded in keeping certain items of personal or historic value off the block. But a source close to the Kennedys said the children were not the bidders, according to The New York Times.

An unnamed member of the family spent $27,500 for a 1923 diary written by matriarch Rose Kennedy, more than double the suggested price of $10,000-$12,000.

Another diary penned by JFK's late sister, Kathleen Kennedy, during a European trip in 1935-1936, went for $10,000, against a $7,000-$8,000 pre-sale estimate. And a family photo album sold for $14,000, far above the $2,000 minimum.

A final total for the auction reportedly was about $10 million.

The items that attracted the most interest were those associated with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, says WBZ Reporter Kasey Kaufman.

The auction only appeared lackluster in comparison to the $34.5 million auction of Mrs. Onassis' estate, said Arlan Ettinger, president of Guernsey's auction house, which ran the sale.

"That was a fantastic and unprecedented event. There was never a sale like that before and probably never will be again," he said. "By comparison to most auctions, this was fabulous."

An American collector paid $3,450 for a pair of Kennedy's long johns to go with Marilyn Monroe's slip and panties, which he already owns.

Richard Wilson said he would display the long johns alongside the lingerie once owned by Monroe, the Hollywood star said to have had an affair with Kennedy.

Several of the most noteworthy lots, such as the Cartier watch Kennedy was wearing when he was killed, failed to sell, and several items were withdrawn at the last minute to settle disputes with the National Archives and the Kennedy children.

Many of the items on the block could be traced to Kennedy's secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, who saved virtually everything having to do with Kennedy or his family, including notes, sales receipts, doodles, and scribblings by the children.

Lincoln died in 1995 and left the materials to Maryland collector Robert L. White, who is selling some of his 100,000 Kennedy items.

Among other highlights:

  • A crimson Harvard cardigan sweater, with a large black `H' on the left breast sold for $31,625.
  • A PT-109 tie clip worn by Kennedy the day before his November 1963 assassination went for $25,875.
  • Motion picture footage of Kennedy's 1952 Senate campaign, which went for $34,500.
  • Kennedy's cigar box and cigars, which fetched just over $40,000.
  • A presidential rocking chair fetched $332,500. The oak rocking chair was one of two Kennedy used for meetings and visits in New York's Carlyle Hotel while he was senator and president.
  • Tortoiseshell sunglases, $46,000.
  • Walking stick, $13,000.
  • Kennedy's comb, $1,100.

    ©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report