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Item 181 - Lee Harvey Oswald’s US Marine Corps Rifle Score Book Catalog 417 (Oct 2013)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $2,500.00
Sold Price: $54,000.00 (includes buyer's premium)

Description


Oswald’s personally-owned and -used softcover workbook entitled “U. S. Marine Corps Score Book for U. S. Rifle, Caliber .30, M1 and U. S. Carbine, Caliber .30, M1A1,” 80 pages, 6 x 3.75, filled out by Oswald on the front cover in pencil with his name, “Oswald, L. H.,” rifle number, “4314215,” organization, “2060 2nd R.T.V.,” and date issued, “3 Dec. ’56.” The first few pages contain instructions for shooting and scorekeeping, and bear a couple pencil notations by Oswald in the margins. The majority of the book consists of target diagrams and tables filled out in pencil by Oswald, plotting his shots on the diagrams and recording relevant details like date, elevation, and wind speed/direction. Oswald also generally indicates his firing position in the upper margin, such as “kneeling,” “sitting,” or “prone.” In total, Oswald completed 32 such pages throughout the month of December, with two being practice ‘samples’ and the rest his actual results. In very good to fine condition, with two toned tape remnants affixed to the front cover, light general soiling, and three small areas of surface loss to the back cover. Accompanied by interesting correspondence from 1969 between Marguerite Oswald and John Lattimer, a notable researcher of the Kennedy assassination, who originally purchased the score book from her; this includes one ALS from Marguerite, in part: “My late son’s Marine score book is in the same condition as when he left it with me…Someday soon it will be proven that a conspiracy did exist and that my son was indeed the ‘patsy.’”

On October 26, 1956, 17-year-old Oswald reported for duty at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, where he was assigned to the Second Recruit Training Battalion and began training in, among other things, the use of the M-1 rifle. His practice scores were reportedly not very good, but when his company fired for a record on December 21, he scored 212, two points above the score necessary to qualify as a sharpshooter (with the classification scale ranging from marksman to sharpshooter to expert). Over the next three years, his skill seemingly declined; a Marine in the same unit as Oswald in 1958 reported that he was frequently given the red flag in qualification firing, indicating a complete miss of the target, and when re-tested in May of 1959, Oswald qualified only as a marksman. It has been frequently argued that even an expert marksman would struggle to duplicate Oswald’s alleged feat in the assassination of Kennedy, hitting a moving target three times in less than nine seconds (the time has been heavily disputed, ranging from 5.6 to 8.3 seconds). Filled out by Oswald—who frequently lied about his actions—this book shows a high skill level, especially at longer distances in rapid fire. Offering a detailed and lengthy account of his earliest training results, this is an absolutely fascinating piece in the question of whether or not Oswald held the capability of carrying out the assassination. RR Auction COA.

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