News, Culture & Society

John F. Kennedy’s boat to sell for THOUSANDS at auction

An eclectic array of memorabilia from the late President John F. Kennedy, including a speedboat, will be offered at auction next week alongside a slice of Cold War espionage intrigue.

The auction, by Guernsey’s in New York City over October 6-7th, will feature Kennedy’s restored 17-foot mahogany vessel, which comes complete with an unusual name.

Kennedy patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. had a boat named ‘Tenovus’ – a creatively-spelled reference to the number of Kennedy family members at the time: ‘ten of us.’

Back in the day: John F. Kennedy sat at the wheel of his speedboat, Restofus, in the late 1950s

Later, when he won the speedboat in a church raffle, it got the name ‘Restofus’ – a nod to the ‘rest of us’ in the expanding family. That became JFK’s personal boat. 

After the nation’s 35th president died, the boat went to his brother, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, and then to other owners. Its pre-sale estimate is $100,000 to $150,000 (£74,000-£112,000).

Other nautically themed offerings include a porcelain demitasse cup and saucer, trimmed with 24 karat gold, from the presidential yacht U.S.S. Honey Fitz, estimated at $800 to $1,200 (£598-£898). 

There’s also a pair of Kennedy’s linen swimming trunks, expected to fetch $3,000- $4,000 (£2,245-£2,994); and the first lady’s teal one-piece bathing suit for $4,000-$6,000 (£2,994-£4,491).

The wide array of Camelot-lots – over 500 – includes documents, photos, stationery, even inscribed sterling silver baby toothbrushes.

There are numerous consignors. The core of the sale comes from the collections of Lt. Henry Hirschy, who worked at the White House; Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal secretary, Mary Gallagher; and CIA operative Francis Gary Powers, whose story was the basis for Steven Spielberg’s ‘Bridge of Spies’.

Up for grabs: The boat's pre-sale estimate is $100,000 to $150,000 (£74,000-£112,000)

Up for grabs: The boat’s pre-sale estimate is $100,000 to $150,000 (£74,000-£112,000)

History: Former US President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy pictured as they left the White House

History: Former US President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy pictured as they left the White House

Powers, a pilot for the CIA’s U-2 program, was arrested after his spy plane was shot down over Soviet airspace in 1960.

The collection includes his orange flight suit, expected to get $10,000-$15,000 (£7,486-£11,229), worn in numerous U-2 test missions, along with an undershirt and brown lace-up boots.

And, yes, spies did really wear trench coats back in the day: in Powers’ case, one black and one tan, estimated at $2,500 to $3,500 (£1,800-£2,620) apiece.

They also had to answer the call of nature, like everybody else – resulting in a very quirky lot. 

Described by auctioneers as a ‘historic and straightforward piece of equipment,’ the plastic and metal ‘containment vessel’ allowed Powers to relieve himself during long flights. It has a presale estimate of $2,000 to $3,000 (£1,497-£2,246). 





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