JFK wedding negatives sell for $34K at auction
BOSTON (AP) — One black-and-white photograph captures a dapper John F. Kennedy slicing into his wedding cake. Another shows the family dog peeking out playfully from the folds of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s billowing white dress.
The images were among those imprinted on 13 original negatives from the Kennedys’ fairytale wedding that sold for $34,073 Wednesday to a doctor in Las Vegas, who declined to reveal his name, according to RR Auction in Boston.
The Kennedys were married on Sept. 12, 1953 at St. Mary’s Church in the well-heeled resort town of Newport, Rhode Island, south of Boston.
The images, which went up for auction Sept. 26 with a $200 opening bid, show the wedding party posing outside, the newlyweds leaving the church and the couple cutting the wedding cake.
RR Auction said the images are attributed to freelance photographer Frank Ataman and were found in the darkroom of another photographer and have likely never been published.
Four are of the newlyweds, two show the entire wedding party, and the remainder show the cake, reception and wedding attendees.
The Kennedy wedding was a high society affair covered by Life magazine, drawing some 700 guests to the ceremony and 1,200 to the reception.
At the time, Kennedy was less than a year into his first term as a U.S. senator from Massachusetts and more than seven years from his election as the country’s first Roman Catholic president and its youngest elected head of state.
Bobby Livingston, the auction house’s executive vice president, says interest in Kennedy memorabilia — and indeed other icons of the 1960s, such as NASA and the Beatles — continues to grow as the Baby Boomer generation enters the later stages of their working lives or retirement and have more disposable income.
“These things have an intense public interest. Because it’s the Kennedys, there’s a passion for collecting these and a passion for the memories,” he said. “These photos really capture the beginning of Camelot, and that resonates.”
The negatives are among other Kennedy materials auctioned off Wednesday, including a White House holiday card President Kennedy and his wife signed just days before his assassination in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963. That sold for $19,500, according to the auction house.
In September, RR Auction auctioned off a collection of World War II-era letters Kennedy sent to the family of a lost PT-109 crewmate for $200,000. Last October, it sold a white Lincoln Continental that the president and first lady rode in hours before his death for $318,000, as well as assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s gold wedding band for $108,000.