AMESBURY — Unprecedented.
That’s how appraiser Don Meader summed up Sunday’s highly anticipated auction of John F. Kennedy memorabilia at McInnis Auctioneers in downtown Amesbury.
The auction — which featured more than 2,000 Kennedy photos, gifts, documents and keepsakes — got under way at 11 a.m. Sunday and lasted well into the wee hours of Monday morning.
By the time the final hammer fell, the collection had sold for just under $2 million.
While McInnis staff members knew it would take a while to sell all 723 lots up for bid, nobody was expecting the marathon it turned out to be, with the auction attracting thousands of participants worldwide, both in person and online.
“It went nonstop for 18 hours, and there were still people bidding,” said Linda Greenstein, the auction’s publicist.
Along the way, interest in items connected with the Kennedy legacy never waned.
Greenstein said the last item in the sale — the former president’s London Fog jacket — sold at 5:31 a.m. Monday for $11,000, plus a minimum 15 percent buyer’s premium.
“We’ve run many, many, many auctions with 700 to 800 lots, so we know how long they take to run,” Meader said. “But it ended up that there was such a huge response between the crowd and the Internet that it actually took the same amount of time to sell the lesser-estimated items as the large items. Each lot took three to four minutes to sell.”
The collection offered a unique glimpse into the personal life of the former president through the eyes of David Powers, who was both Kennedy’s special assistant and his best friend. Powers became the first curator of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston after the former president’s assassination. He remained close with Kennedy’s family until his death at age 85 in 1998.