By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY — All eyes will be on Amesbury this weekend as one of the largest collections of John F. Kennedy memorabilia ever assembled will be auctioned off in a sale timed to mark the 50th anniversary of the President’s death.
“The Legends Auction” will include just under 1,600 lots, which will be sold off by John McInnis Auctioneers over the course of three days starting on Friday afternoon. The collection includes a wide array of JFK related photos, letters, documents and items, along with other items related to notable people like Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Ernest Hemingway.
The auction will also include rare footage of the assassination taken by the Secret Service, showing the actual moment of the shooting from inside the motorcade and the events just prior to and following the shooting.
Since it was first announced late last month, the auction has drawn international attention and is expected to attract bids from all over the world. Dan Meader, an appraiser for McInnis, said the inclusion of items connected to the world of Hollywood and fashion has generated wide interest from people beyond just history and political enthusiasts.
“We’ve gotten national and international press from all sorts of major publications,” said appraiser Dan Meader. “The Daily Mail, Vogue International, we’ve been all over the place with coverage from every avenue.”
The auction will be divided into three sessions, with the first starting on Friday at 3 p.m. and the next two starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The collection is available for preview every day this week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and then on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. until the end of each day’s session. All previews are free and open to the public.
Each session will feature a slightly different theme, with the first session focusing primarily on Kennedy photographs and the Hemingway items, the second including most of the big-ticket Kennedy items like his rocking chair and fedora, and the third having a heavy Hollywood influence. The assassination footage will be included in the first session.
The items will remain available for preview even while the auction is going on, although Meader said it would be less convenient at that point and residents should come before Friday to get a good look at the collection.
“We have tens of thousands of objects, and most of them have never been seen,” Meader said. “We’ve had great feedback and the gallery is loaded with the stuff now and it really looks like a collection that you’d have to take in. It’s one thing to see it online and another to see it in person.”
Before the auction begins on Friday, Meader said the auction house would observe two moments of silence, one at 1:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m. central time) to coincide with the time Kennedy was shot, and another at 2 p.m. to mark the time he died. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.
Shortly after that, the bidding will begin. Meader said he isn’t sure how many people will show up at the auction house at any given time, but he is expecting a lot of activity online from bidders following the action from their homes.
“We don’t expect massive crowds, because the way the auction world works, people are allowed to bid online, so through the internet, and we have a TV camera set up so they’ll be able to watch at home and bid on anything they want,” Meader said. “What we’re doing is to guarantee a seat, we’ve printed out a 100-page supplemental catalogue, and that will guarantee you two seats if you buy that.”
Meader said that since the auction preview opened this past weekend, he’s seen cars with license plates from all over the country parked in McInnis’ lot, and he encouraged local residents to come down too, saying that for every big ticket item up for sale, there will be plenty of smaller ones that will sell for a reasonable price.
“There’s enough stuff for every level and every pocketbook,” Meader said.