President John F Kennedy still fascinates collectors, 47 years after his death

One this day in 1963, the United States changed forever with an event that, to many, contributed to the end of the optimism which so defined the 1960s. On November 22 of that year, President John F Kennedy was assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas.

Kennedy had been US President for just two years - two years whose events had included the Cuban Missile crisis, the Space Race, the building of the Berlin Wall, and the early events of the Vietnam War.

The rest, of course, is history: the assassination of JFK cemented his status as an historical icon, forever entwined with the 1960s and the 20th century's most eventful era of social change.

John F Kennedy's last ever signature, today insured for $250,000

Naturally, Kennedy's ongoing legacy has been felt repeatedly on the collectors' markets ever since. Recent high-profile sales have included the auctioning of JFK's final autograph at the beginning of this year.

The autograph, signed on a newspaper from the morning of Kennedy's death, nearly doubled its $20,000 expected price to sell for $39,000 at Heritage Auction Galleries. The buyer was in no doubt as to the appreciating asset they had acquired, and immediately insured the letter for $250,000.

Given that his legacy is constantly evoked by his successors - with later presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama among his fans - it's no surprise that JFK's autograph is one of the most valued on the markets. Its value has appreciated by 275.7% over the past decade, according to the industry's PFC40 Autographs Index.

Jack Ruby hat JFK Kennedy

Jack Ruby's hat is among the items of JFK ephemera to have sold for
large amounts at auction

What's more, autographed Kennedy manuscripts can be acquired for entry-level prices. Among them is this very rare note on a Senatorial letterhead, which is for sale to collectors priced at a relatively low £3,950 ($5,925).

Signed documents featuring both Kennedy and his wife Jackie are also scarce and sought-after. Paul Fraser Collectibles if proud to have sold one such example, a signed campaign dinner program from 1960, whose value is sure to continue to appreciate for its buyer in future years. 

Elsewhere, a fedora hat worn by Jack Ruby - the killer of Kennedy's believed assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald - sold for $54,000 (over an estimate of $35,000) at the same auction as JFK's final autograph. For now, it appears that collectors remain as fascinated as ever by JFK's life - and his death...


Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£65,000
In stock