Incredibly rare Christmas card signed by JFK and Jackie Onassis just DAYS before the former President was assassinated goes on sale for a staggering $35,000
- The extremely rare card, meant for Christmas of 1963, was never sent out
- It’s one of a group of custom Hallmark cards ordered by The White House
- Another one of the unsent 1963 holiday cards signed by JFK and Jackie is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History
An extremely rare Christmas card from 1963 that bears the signatures of John F. Kennedy and Jackie Onassis is up for auction, with an asking of nearly $35,000.
While the 35th President and First Lady no doubt signed innumerable Christmas cards during the first two years of his term, in 1961 and 1962, the one currently for sale harkens back to a fateful moment in American history.
That’s because the President had personally signed the custom, Hallmark-brand card, printed for the Christmas of 1963, at some point in the two days immediately prior to his assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963.
The card is one of a small group – none of which were ultimately sent out – that he’d signed during the narrow window between his return to the White House from Florida on the evening of November 18 and his departure for Texas on the morning of November 21.
A 1963 Christmas card personally signed by John F. Kennedy and Jackie Onassis prior to the President’s death – and that was never sent – is up for auction, with an asking of nearly $35,000
The front of the card is a photograph of the crèche – a 3-D tableau of a nativity scene – that was on display in the East Room of The White House over Christmas of 1963
The card comes with a certificate of authenticity from Beckett Authentication Services
The card is one of fewer than 75 personally signed by the couple that year
The card currently up for auction from Press Pass Collectibles was one of less than 75 personally signed by the couple; others from the 1963 batch were stamped with generic, printed replicas of their signatures.
Reportedly, Jackie had signed the cards earlier in the month of her husband’s death.
On the front of the card appears a photograph of the crèche – a 3-D tableau of a nativity scene – that was on display in the East Room of The White House in 1963.
The crèche pictured on the card was first installed in The White House in 1961, and was fabricated from terracotta and carved wood from Naples, Italy, and backdropped by gold curtains, according to MyNativity.com.
Different versions of the nativity tableau have been installed in the East Room under subsequent presidential administrations.
The inside of the card features a gold presidential seal above the text ‘With best wishes for a Happy New Year.’
The lot comes with a certificate of authenticity from Beckett Authentication Services.
Also included is a typewritten letter by Evelyn Lincoln, who was the personal secretary to JFK, dated September 22, 1987.
The presidential couple only celebrated two Christmases in The White House before JFK was assassinated in 1963. They are pictured here at a White House staff Christmas party in 1962
After JFK’s assassination on November 22, 1963, Jackie had to spend the holidays moving out of The White House. The couple is pictured next to The White House Christmas tree in 1962
The letter seemingly bequeathed the group of 1963 unsent Christmas cards signed by JFK and Jackie to Kennedy enthusiast Robert L. White.
According to Mr. White’s 2003 obit in The Washington Post, he was a rabid fan of the Kennedys and an obsessive collector of memorabilia tied to JFK and Jackie’s legacy, amassing around 25,000 items of significance to JFK’s biography.
Mr. White also apparently had a close friendship with Ms. Lincoln, and she reportedly granted him access to countless examples of objects and miscellaneous ephemera tied to the Kennedy administration – which would explain her letter to him regarding the 1963 Christmas cards.
A 1987 letter from Evelyn Lincoln, who was JFK’s personal secretary, seemingly bequeathed the unsent Christmas cards to avid JFK fan and memorabilia collector Robert L. White
A different version from the batch of personally signed, unsent holiday cards – this one with slightly different text, reading ‘With our wishes for a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year’ – is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Prior to JFK’s assassination, the First Family had planned to have Thanksgiving at the ‘family compound’ in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
They would have then spent Christmas in Palm Beach, Florida, with the President’s siblings and parents.
Instead, Jackie tragically spent the holidays moving out of The White House, which she’d spent the previous two years restoring, and moved herself and her kids into a house belonging to friends of hers in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Per Smithsonian Magazine, she received more than 800,000 cards and letters of condolence in the aftermath of JFK’s death – but did not herself send out holiday cards that year.
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