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Tragedy Museum Holds Auction

April 3, 1998

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) _ For sale: furniture, used, once owned by presidential assassin. Price? Make an offer.

The furniture from Lee Harvey Oswald’s Dallas apartment is among the odd assortment of items on the auction block Saturday at the Tragedy in U.S. Museum in the nation’s oldest city.

Items ranging from the historic to the bizarre are available: The ambulance that took Oswald to the hospital after he was fatally wounded also is for sale, as is the 1966 Buick Electra in which actress Jayne Mansfield was killed in 1967.

But how will the items sell? Quite well, organizers hope.

``People like tragedy. It’s human nature,″ auction spokeswoman Charlene Brimmer said.

The collection was amassed by Buddy Hough, who died two years ago. It includes Bonnie and Clyde’s getaway car _ complete with bullet holes _ and a white Lincoln Continental in which President Kennedy rode in Fort Worth just hours before he was shot to death by Oswald.

The museum opened in 1964. Hough got the idea for the museum after watching TV news reports of the Kennedy assassination, said Ms. Brimmer, a family friend.

``This was his life,″ she said, adding that Hough was thrown in jail for zoning violations when he first tried to open the museum because it didn’t fit in with the image that St. Augustine wanted to portray.

Hough’s widow, Debra, closed the museum in March because it was too much for her to handle alone, Ms. Brimmer said.

Mrs. Hough and Ms. Brimmer have no idea how much money the strange collection of items will bring in. How can you fix a dollar amount for a 1718 Spanish jail cell with two human skeletons inside or a collection of antique torture equipment?

``That’s why we’re having an auction,″ she said. ``To some people the items would be valuable. To others, they would be worthless.″

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