Word of the historic auction spread across not only this country, but across the globe. In the days leading up to yesterday’s sale, McInnis Auctioneers and Amesbury as a community were the subject of countless national and international television news reports, newspaper stories and magazines, according to Meader.
For about a week, the collection had been on exhibit to the public, giving people from all over the country a memorable look back at a pivotal time and temporarily transforming the auction house into a museum of American history.
The early going was dominated by some of the more prodigious buyers bidding online or via phone, scooping up multiple lots of signed letters, documents and photos. But there were some bidders inside the building who snatched items for themselves.
Among them were Donnie Greenwell of Waverly, Ky., who won two items in the first hour: two patriot speeches written by Kennedy, “We Must Be Worthy Of Our Times” during his run for U.S. Congress in 1946 for $500 and another speech, “Why I am a Democrat,” written around the same time for $550.
“It (the price) sounded reasonable,” Greenwell said, right after purchasing “We Must Be Worthy Of Our Times.”
For Rich Travaglione of Nantucket, his purchase of a 1946 photo of JFK for $525 had less to do with striking a bargain and more with keeping the memory of his late father alive. Travaglione said his father, who was 15 around the time Kennedy ran for Congress, met the candidate when he was campaigning in the North End section of Boston. Travaglione’s father then introduced Kennedy to many of the residents, creating a lasting memory for the younger man.
“That particular time was important to me and my father,” Travaglione said shortly after winning the photograph.
Perhaps the highlight of the auction was a brown leather bomber jacket encased in glass and displayed behind McInnis’ auction table.