The era associated with the Kennedy presidency was a time of youthful exuberance, enthusiasm and wonder. They called it Camelot.
This exciting time in the early 1960s when the country rallied around its new president and his young family is remembered with fondness. The tragic death of President John F. Kennedy on a sunny day in Dallas, Texas, is now remembered after 50 years.
The collectible objects associated with the Kennedys are many. After his death in November 1963, possibly every family in America had some kind of Kennedy memento.
Shown is a Kennedy record album.
Shown is a Kennedy salt and pepper shaker set.
A most common collectible was The John F. Kennedy memorial record album which chronicled many of his famous speeches on vinyl. The record album sells for $55 to collectors today.
Objects that relate to the 1960 presidential campaign or personal effects of the Kennedy family are among the most highly sought after pieces. For instance, Kennedy campaign posters featuring the slogan "Kennedy for President: Leadership for the '60s" are coveted keepsakes valued at $325 each. Campaign buttons promoting the Kennedy/Johnson ticket range from the simple blue "Kennedy" pin backs worth $10 each to those that are focusing on a particular sector of voting Americans like "Kennedy's white but he's alright," which sell for $30 each. Other unusual campaign pins highlighted in the presidential campaign of 1960 was the figural pin in the form of the PT (Patrol Torpedo) boat that Kennedy served on during the war. The 1960 Kennedy PT 109 campaign pin sells for $50.
My favorite Kennedy campaign collectible is the pocket cigarette lighter featuring images of Kennedy and Johnson. These lighters were distributed on the campaign trail in 1960 and today trade for $400 to $600.
Publications featuring the Kennedys are common such as Life or Look magazines with covers documenting the fateful day when the President was shot or the weekend of mourning that followed. Images remain emblazoned in our collective memory such as Lyndon Johnson taking the oath of office beside Mrs. Kennedy or the toddler, John Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's coffin during the funeral procession. These items while culturally important do not hold high resale value.
Housewares of the Kennedys
The collectible china salt and pepper shakers featuring the likenesses of the President and the first lady, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, were mass produced and collected in large numbers. Salt and pepper shakers measuring 3 inches tall are worth $150 to $175 at the time of the 50 years anniversary. A Jackie Kennedy head vase from the 1960s made of ceramic earthenware sold for $200 and can bring as much as 50 percent more on the market now.
Works of art, which always hold their value well, are among the most interesting Kennedy collectibles like a color lithograph of John F. Kennedy by Norman Rockwell worth $500.
It is hard to believe, but people even collect highly unique and personal Kennedy items like strands of hair. Hair strands from President Kennedy sold recently for $100.
If you have a Kennedy collectible and you would like to liquidate it, you can command a high price around the date of the 50th anniversary of the President's assassination.
On the other hand, if you are in the market to buy Kennedy collectibles, some of the best pieces will come to market in the days surrounding this historic anniversary, too. Good pieces will come to market but buyers will be hard pressed to find a bargain now.
Ph.D. antiques appraiser, author, and award-winning TV personality, Dr. Lori presents appraisal events to audiences worldwide.