A rare painting completed in 1955 by President John F. Kennedy and auctioned by Kennedy family heirs sold for $162,500 in Heritage Auctions’ Dec. 2 Americana & Political Auction. The auction realized $1,162,777 on period presidential memorabilia ranging from pinbacks to White House china.
“Collectors were hunting for the unique,” said Tom Slater, director of Americana auctions at Heritage. “We presented some of the most unusual relics seen in recent memory, including several fresh-to-market items that had remained in the same family for decades.”
The oil painting Kennedy completed in 1955 is believed to be one of just two known paintings by the President, the other being in the Kennedy Library. It hung in the bedroom of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s home, Hickory Hill, and was eventually presented to their son upon his marriage to Victoria Gifford Kennedy.
An important Cigar Store Indian Tobacconist Figure, one of only a few known signed by artist Julius Theodore Melchers sold for $81,250. Considered one of America’s finest and most renowned carvers of his time, Melchers typically carved his trade figures from one piece of wood, making the 77-inch example quite rare since it is fully intact and in an exceptional state of preservation.
An 1846 Quarter Plate Daguerreotype Profile Portrait of President John Quincy Adams sold for $31,500. In his personal diary, Adams documented the photograph taken in the Washington, D.C. studio of John Plumbe. Adams was the earliest president to have been photographed.
Jugate pinbacks depicting James M. Cox and Franklin D. Roosevelt remain at the top of desirable political buttons and a 7/8-inch 1920 rarity retaining its original paper from the St. Louis Button Company sold for $25,000.
Additional highlights include, but are not limited to:
- A New York City Skyline Sketch by President Donald J. Trump sold for $20,000
- George Armstrong Custer’s Personal 7th Cavalry Footlocker sold for $16,250
- A scarce, Wells Fargo Strongbox brought $16,250
- A Silver James Monroe Indian Peace Medal and Tomahawk, presented to Pawnee Chief Patalesharo, sold for $15,000