The life and death of JFK are captured in Bonhams' photography sale

On December 9 one of the most famous and sombre images of the 20th century will go up for sale at Bonhams in New York.

It's possibly the most famous picture Chief White House Photographer Cecil Stoughton ever took: hours after the assassination of John Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B Johnson raises his hand to be sworn in as the 36th President of the USA.  Alongside him stands a shocked and grieving Jackie Kennedy in the blood-stained dress she had worn as she cradled her dying husband in her arms.

The most famous picture Cecil Stoughton ever took

The picture, signed "To Cecil Stoughton / with high regard and appreciation / Lyndon B. Johnson", is part of a fascinating cache of photographs charting the Kennedy Presidential years expected to raise more than $200,000.

In stark contrast is a very rare photograph, found in an envelope marked 'Sensitive Material', of Marilyn Monroe with John Kennedy and his brother Robert at a Democratic fundraiser on May 19 1962.

It was taken shortly after the actress had famously sung, "Happy Birthday Mr President" at Madison Square Gardens and she is still wearing the pearl-encrusted dress which had caused such a stir.

This photo is the only known shot featuring both Monroe and JFK

There was a strictly enforced rule that Monroe and the President should never be photographed together but despite being later asked by the Secret Service to hand over all of the incriminating negatives, Stoughton was apparently able to sneak one through. Its rarity, combined with the booming popularity of Monroe and JFK memorabilia, means it could easily beat its estimated price of $4,000 - $6,000.

Lighter moments are also captured, including a shot of Kennedy clapping as John Junior and Caroline dance round the Oval Office. Entitled 'Kennedy Children at the White House' and dated 1963, it is inscribed, "For Captain Stoughton - who captured beautifully a happy moment at the White House. John F Kennedy". The photo has a pre-sale estimate of $7,000 - $9,000.

This year has already seen some record-breaking photography sales, and these intimate images of such a cultural icon are sure to excite both collectors and investors alike.


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