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29   John F. Kennedy  $500 $977 $1075 8 You must login to place a bid.
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#29 - John F. Kennedy Estimate: $25,000+

PT-109 tie clip worn by President Kennedy on November 21, 1963

John F. Kennedy's personally-worn gold-tone PT-109 tie clasp. measuring 1.75″ long, worn on the night before his assassination, November 21, 1963, with "Kennedy" engraved on the hull. Includes a letter of provenance on White House stationery from JFK's Special Assistant Martin E. Underwood, in full: "This is to certify that this P. T. Boat Tie Clasp was worn by President John F. Kennedy at Houston, Texas on the evening of November 21, 1963 approximately 18 hours before he was assassinated." Mounted and framed together to an overall size of 11 x 15. In fine condition.

In the early morning of August 2, 1943, Lieutenant Kennedy’s PT-109 was struck by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri in the Blackett Strait of the Solomon Islands. Following a miraculous 3.5-mile swim to shore, Kennedy and his ten surviving crew members were rescued from Olasana Island a full six days later. The young lieutenant's grace under pressure made him a national hero when the story was picked up by John Hersey and covered in The New Yorker and Reader's Digest.

Later on during JFK's run for president, in an effort to quell public concerns about what some called candidate Kennedy’s 'inexperience,' the campaign sought to publicize his heroic naval service. Utilizing the PT Boat as a recognizable symbol, these popular tie clasps were produced as campaign tokens and became highly sought-after mementoes. As President Kennedy's personally-worn clip from the day prior to his assassination, this example holds a remarkable poignancy that embodies the glory of his life and the tragedy of his death.

Provenance: Lot #330, Documents and Artifacts Relating to the Life and Career of John F. Kennedy, Guernsey’s, March 18-19, 1998; the frame retains the original Guernsey’s auction tag. The Guernsey’s catalog provides further context: "President Kennedy wore this tie clip on the evening of November 21, 1963, just 18 hours before his assassination. He was staying at the Rice Hotel in Houston, attending a testimonial dinner. That night, Martin Underwood, Special Assistant to President Kennedy, took this clip off the President's tie and replaced it with an identical one."

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