Lee Harvey Oswald's Soviet wedding band lost for 50 years set for auction along with scores of rare artifacts linked to President Kennedy's assassin
- The 14-karat gold ring engraved with the Communist symbols of a star and hammer and sickle was purchased by Oswald in Minsk in 1961
- Buyer will receive five-page handwritten note from Marina Oswald Porter laying out the history of the ring
- Wedding band was returned to Marine Oswald, 72, last year after it had spent 50 years in the possession of a Texas layer
- Oswald's revolver and Marine hunting knife are also up for auction along with his Marine Corp rifle score book
- New Hampshire-based auction house RR Auction will sell 30 artifacts October 24 in Boston, with starting bids ranging from $200 to $2,500
By Snejana Farberov
PUBLISHED: 15:52 EST, 15 October 2013 | UPDATED: 16:58 EST, 15 October 2013
A wedding band worn by Lee Harvey Oswald until just hours before he gunned down President John F. Kennedy is headed for the auction block along with more than two dozen other personal items that once belonged to the notorious assassin.
With the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination just over a month away, the New Hampshire-based auction house RR Auction is getting ready to put on sale 30 historical artifacts connected to Oswald, including photographs, postcards, letters, and even his Iver Johnson revolver.
The crown jewel of the collection is Oswald’s 14-karat gold wedding band engraved with the Communist symbols of hammer and sickle that was locked away in a safe of a Fort-Worth, Texas, law firm for nearly half a century before it was returned to the assassin’s widow, Marina Oswald Porter.
Assassin's ring: A wedding band worn by Lee Harvey Oswald until just hours before he killed President John F. Kennedy will be sold at auction this month
Soviet bling: The 14-karat gold wedding band engraved with the Communist symbols of a star and hammer and sickle (right) was purchased by Oswald in Minsk in 1961
Newlywed: The ring could be seen on Lee Harvey Oswald's right hand as he poses with Marina Oswald for their wedding photo on April 30, 1961
Seeking closure: Marina Oswald Porter, seen here in Minsk shortly after her wedding in 1961, explained in a five-page handwritten letter accompanying the ring that she has decided to sell it because she wants nothing to do with November 22, 1963
The ring was purchased in a jewellery store in Minsk, Belarus, before Oswald's marriage to 19-year-old Marina Prusakova on April 30, 1961 – just two months after the two had first met.
According to Marina, her husband left the ring on a night table next to her bed at Ruth Paine’s house in Irving, Texas, on November 22, 1963 - the day he set out for Dallas to kill the president at Dealey Plaza.
Following Oswald’s arrest, the ring was given to the U.S. Secret Service by Paine, and then to Fort Worth lawyer Forrest Markward, of the firm Brackett and Ellis.
Marina Oswald was reunited with her long-deceased husband's wedding band last year when it was discovered among Markward's files after his death.
Fire power: Oswald's first handgun, an antique Iver Johnson First Model Safety Automatic Hammerless Top Break revolver, was sold to his brother for $10 after being told that he had no business having a gun
Relic: Oswald's personally-owned and -used fixed-blade Marine Corp knife and leather sheath bearing still bearing his lightly carved initials, 'LHO'
Provenance: The hunting knife with an 11.25-inch blade has been authenticated by Lee Harvey's brother, Robert
The ring is accompanied by its original manila Treasury Department Secret Service evidence envelope with a receipt stapled to the front which reads: 'Receipt is hereby acknowledged of a gold wedding band which had been turned over to the United States Secret Service on December 12, 193, by Mrs. Ruth Paine.'
Oswald's wedding band is among the priciest items on the auction block, with the starting bid set at $2,500.
Whoever ends up buying the ring will also receive a five-page handwritten letter from Marina, dated May 5, 2013, in which she lays out the history of the ring from the time of its purchase to the morning of November 22, 1963, which Oswald’s widow describes as ‘the worst day of my life.’
In the missive, the 72-year-old Marina Oswald Porter also talks about her appearance in front of the Warren Commission tasked with investigating the assassination, which suggested that Oswald may have been conveying a secret message by leaving the ring behind.
Fresh-faced youth: Oswald wearing a combat helmet (left) as a Marine stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro near Santa Ana, where he had been assigned at the end of December 1958; a portrait of 15-year-old Oswald in his Civil Air Patrol uniform (right), taken in New Orleans
Historic: Oswald's infamous mugshot taken after his arrest in connection to the assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas November 22, 1963
‘The ring is believed to be the only item to be returned to Marina,’ said Bobby Livingston, of RR Auction. ‘Symbolically listing it may be a way for her to let go of her past in connection with the terrible tragedy.’
Marina explains in her note that she has decided to sell the ring because she wants nothing to do with anything connected with the Kennedy assassination.
The collection of items up for auction includes a cache of Oswald’s personal correspondence, including a letter to his brother Robert; a missive sent to Senator John Tower, of Texas, asking for his help in securing Oswald’s return home from the Soviet Union; his U.S. Marine Corp rifle score book; his 1953 arrest card and other documents and receipts.
Marksman: Oswald's US Marine Corps Rifle Score Book shows a high skill level, especially at longer distances in rapid fire
Comeback: A Western Union telegram notifying Robert Oswald of his brother Lee's return to Dallas from the USSR June 14, 1962
Paper trail: This memo from February 1962 advises Senator John Tower, of Texas, against helping Oswald in his quest to return to the U.S. with his pregnant wife after renouncing his citizenship
Oswald wrote the letter on the left to his brother January 30, 1962, asking him for help in gathering information regarding any issues the government may have with him before his return from the USSR; on the right is an letter from the Foregin Service asking Oswald for more documents in support of his wife's visa application
Also up for grabs are some of Oswald's weapons, including his Marine Corp knife in a leather sheath, the Iver Johnson revolver and a wooden bow.
The auction house will offer several articles of clothing worn by Oswald, like a Japanese-made tweed jacket with his name stitched over the inner pocket, his Marine Corp-issued double-breasted raincoat and also a wool sweater vest.
The treasure trove of historical objects includes some novelties, like Oswald's chess set he had used in the Army, a Russian candy box with the words 'Happy New Year' he sent to his mother, and 15 football player pieces from an electric game he bought when he was 16.
There are also several 10 black-and-white photographs depicting Oswald in different stages of his life, from his days as a baby-faced high school student to his time in the Marine Corp and as smiling groom on his wedding day.
The starting bids on the 30 items in the upcoming sale range from $200 to $2,500. A live auction is scheduled to take place October 24 in Boston.
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