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President Kennedy assassination mementos up for sale

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It has been 53 years since President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. The mementos from that day in 1963 remain — and some are now on the auction block from various sellers. However, they won’t come cheap.

The items up for sale include the gun used when assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested, handcuffs used on Oswald during that arrest, even a metal post from the fence near where the president was shot.

“The Kennedy assassination is one of those iconic events in American history,” said Jim Riddlesperger, a political science professor at Texas Christian University. “Interest in it just keeps growing and growing and growing.

“It has really captured the imagination of the American public the way other events don’t, at least not in our lifetimes.”

Some of the items up for sale:

• The .38-caliber pistol used by Dallas Police Sgt. Gerald Hill when he arrested Oswald in the Texas Theater hours after Kennedy’s assassination. Hill was involved in the initial investigation at the Texas Schoolbook Depository before responding to the theater after hearing a report of a suspicious character seen entering there. After a short struggle, Oswald was arrested. The Colt Police Positive double-action revolver has a 2 1/2-inch barrel with a fixed front sight. The online opening bid for the gun is $4,000, through Heritage Auctions. Proxy bidding ends Dec. 3.

• There’s also a metal post from the fence on the grassy knoll, with a starting bid of $23,500. The description of the item, up for sale on eBay, says that this fence post “is the very same one that was standing at almost the exact position from where the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations concluded it to be probable that someone fired a rifle from behind the Fence on the grassy knoll at President John F. Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas some 53 years ago.” This post — part of the stockade style picket fence built on the grassy knoll in the 1950s — was about seven feet, 10 inches west of the corner of the fence that day. The starting bid for the fence post is listed at $23,500. Bidding ends Sunday.

• And there are the handcuffs used in Oswald’s arrest. A group of police officers, including Hill, entered the theater after hearing the report that a suspicious character was present. They covered all the exits and turned on the house lights, before finding the person they believed to have shot a fellow officer. When Oswald drew a gun, an officer quickly put a pair of Smith & Wesson handcuffs on him. He was taken downtown and booked and the handcuffs, with the serial number 38468, were returned to the officer. The online opening bid for the handcuffs was $50,000, through Goldin Auctions. The bid recently went up to at least $65,000 and the auction house suggests that the handcuffs may be worth around $250,000. Bidding ends around Dec. 3.

President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.

 

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