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February 19, 2013

$570K jacket sale tops area JFK auction

AMESBURY — It took longtime John F. Kennedy personal adviser and friend, the late David Powers, decades to amass more than 2,000 pieces of memorabilia related to the late president.

Sunday, those items — including personal photos, letters and a one-of-a-kind Air Force One leather bomber jacket that sold for a jaw-dropping $570,000 — were auctioned off over several hours to serious collectors, fans and everyone in between at a much-anticipated presidential auction at John McInnis Auctioneers in Amesbury.

The 723-lot auction began shortly after 11 a.m. and among the early highlights were a signed copy of Kennedy’s book “Why England Slept,” the published thesis he wrote while in his senior year at Harvard that went for $4,500, and a copy of Robert Donovan’s book “PT 109, John F. Kennedy in World War II,” signed by the president in 1961, which fetched $7,600.

Other highlights included:

$570,000: Price paid for Kennedy’s Air Force One leather bomber jacket; pre-auction price was $20,000 to $40,000.

$21,000: Price paid for an American flag that flew at the White House during the Kennedy administration; pre-auction price was $3,000 to $6,000.

$16,000: Price paid for a Kennedy administration White House seal used in the West Wing; pre-auction price was $2,000 to $4,000.

$9,750: Price paid for a photo of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on their wedding day signed by the couple; pre-auction price was $2,000 to $5,000.

$6,000: Price paid for Kennedy adviser David Powers’ desk from the White House.

$4,250: Price paid for a little photo of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis captured in the mirror taking a photo; pre-auction price was $100 to $200.

For decades, Powers, who died at 85 in 1998, was inseparable from Kennedy, serving as his longtime friend’s confidant during his political career. After Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, Powers became a driving force behind the creation of the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, donating thousands of items to the iconic library. But Powers kept many of the most personal items to himself; and after his family discovered the items while cleaning out his house, it was decided to put most of the pieces up for bid.

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