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Lee Harvey Oswald Wedding Ring

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Oswald’s wedding band that he left at his wife’s bedside the morning of the assassination, seized by the Secret Service and held by an attorney for almost 50 years, with provenance directly from his widow

One of the most significant and personal items connected with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy…Lee Harvey Oswald’s gold wedding band. The gold band, with three stamps on the inside, was purchased in a jewelry store in Minsk before his marriage to Marina Prusaakova on April 30, 1961, and according to Marina, he left the ring on a night table next to Marina’s bed at Ruth Paine’s house in Irving, Texas, on November 22, 1963, the day of the Kennedy assassination. After Oswald’s arrest the ring was given to the United States Secret Service by Paine on December 2, 1963, and then to the possession of a Fort Worth lawyer, Forrest Markward, who joined the firm of Brackett and Ellis. The ring remained at the firm until it was discovered among Markward’s files after his passing, and eventually returned to Marina in 2012. The ring is accompanied by its original manila Treasury Department Secret Service evidence envelope, labeled at the top, “Wedding ring,” with a typed receipt stapled to the front which states: “Receipt is hereby acknowledged of a gold wedding band which had been turned over to the United States Secret Service on December 2, 1963, by Mrs. Ruth Paine.”

The band is also accompanied by an amazing, one-of-a-kind five page handwritten letter from Marina Oswald Porter, dated May 5, 2013, documenting the history of the ring from its purchase by Oswald in Minsk in 1961, his leaving it on a table in her room in Ruth Paine’s home the morning of November 22, described by Marina as “the worst day of my life,” and its confiscation by the Secret Service from Paine’s home. She goes on to mention her appearance in front of the Warren Commission, their insinuation of a hidden meaning of the ring being left behind, with her response being “I do not know,” as well as the final return of the ring some 49 years after it was confiscated, having been found among a lawyer’s papers, and her wish to not “have Lee’s ring in my possession because symbolically I want to let go of my past that is connecting with Nov. 22, 1963.”

Also included is a July 24, 2012, letter from Luther Ellis of Brackett and Ellis informing Mrs. Porter of the discovery of the ring in Markward’s files. The letter states: “I am writing you concerning a gold ring which appears to be a wedding band that may have belonged to Lee Harvey Oswald at the time of his death. Our law firm came into possession of the ring when it was found among the files of Forrest Markward…The ring is in an envelope marked ‘Treasury Department Secret Service,’ together with an unsigned receipt indicating the ring was delivered to the ‘United States Secret Service on December 2, 1963, by Mrs. Ruth Paine.’ There is no indication in Mr. Markward’s files how he came into possession of the ring. However, it appears to have been in his possession since 1964.”

The ring is referenced at least twice during the Warren Commission proceedings, with one entry in which Marina was asked if her husband had left a note for her on November 21-22, 1963, with her response stating “she had been shocked when she discovered the police had found her husband’s wedding ring when they searched the Paine residence on November 22, 1963.” The ring was also mentioned in an exchange between Chairman Earl Warren, General Counsel Lee Rankin and William McKenzie. McKenzie asks for the return “of everything Mrs. Oswald has previously furnished the Commission…In particular there is a wedding ring that I would like to ask the Commission to return at this time.” Warren advises McKenzie that nothing will be returned that day, but the Commission will give it consideration.

Left by Oswald on that fateful November 1963 day, this ring, and the money he left behind, could be construed by many as Oswald’s final farewell to his wife, as he made one last effort to reconcile with her and start over in Dallas. A superlative item of great historical significance and intrigue, newly discovered by the last living major figure of the Kennedy assassination, and offered for public auction for the first time.