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John F. Kennedy: Two White House Oval Office Flags.... (Total: 7 Items)

2013 November 23 - 24 Political & Americana Signature Auction - Dallas #6106

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Auction Ended On: Nov 23, 2013
Item Activity: 7 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions
3500 Maple Avenue
Dallas, TX 75219

John F. Kennedy: Two White House Oval Office Flags. These two flags stood in the White House Oval Office of President John F. Kennedy during the time he was president: the American flag to his right and the presidential flag to his left. Each flag is accompanied by its own corded, red-white-and-blue tassels; flag pole; base; and eagle finial. The American flag measures 52" x 66", Valley Forge Flag Company (marked 26 June 1959) and is fringed in yellow thread. A label within the top of the hoist states: "Valley Forge Flag Co., Inc. / Flag, National, USA, Rayon w/ fringe / 4'4" x 5'6", 50 Stars, Size 1 Special / QM (CTM) 4352-0.1.1823-E-59 / 26 June 1959." The presidential flag measures 52" x 66", Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot (marked 1-11-60) and is fringed in silver and gold bullion thread. A label within the top of the hoist states: "JOB 5872 / FLAG DISTIG. RY / 4'4" X 5'6" / PRES. OF U.S. / 1-11-60 / Phila. Quartermaster / Depot." Both are in fine condition.

Around 6:00pm on November 27, 1963 (five days after the president's death), these flags were given to Evelyn Lincoln, the president's devoted personal secretary throughout his public career, at the request of Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Mrs. Lincoln wrote, "Special Agent Clint Hill and John J. 'Muggsie' O'Leary came to my office in the EOB (Executive Office Building) and handed me an envelope upon which was written the words 'The President's Office.' I thanked them for the envelope after they had told me that Mrs. Kennedy wanted me to have it. . . . When I got home later that evening I handed the envelope (to my husband), telling him that Jackie had given it to me. Not knowing what was in the envelope we opened it and to my surprise there were these two flags. I cried and cried and cried. I sat down and immediately wrote her a note expressing my gratitude."

Evelyn and Harold Lincoln's wills provided that these two flags were to be bequeathed to the University of Pittsburgh to be given to the Irish Room Committee in honor of James W. Knox, former Allegheny County Controller and friend of President John F. Kennedy. James Knox first met John Kennedy in 1946 before he was elected to Congress. The young Navy lieutenant was flying to Pittsburgh to give a talk to the Young Democrats and Knox, a former captain in the Navy, was asked to pick him up at the airport. From that point on, the two kept in touch and any time Kennedy visited Pittsburgh, he would call and James Knox would pick him up. Mr. Knox has many fond recollections of his time spent with President Kennedy when the president visited the Western Pennsylvania area. "The President never carried money and once, on the way to a speaking engagement, Kennedy wanted to buy a newspaper (in McKeesport) and had to borrow the money from me," remembered Knox.

In November 2002, these flags were placed at auction by the University of Pittsburgh (a copy of this catalog is included with the lot); the entire proceeds from that sale went into a scholarship program established by the Irish Room Committee Fund at the university. These annual scholarships are awarded to candidates who demonstrate the highest level of academic excellence and the funds pay for their summer study and travel abroad; the same kind of travel that enlarged John F. Kennedy's horizons as a young man. The two flags were also the object of study by the National Flag Foundation, a publicly supported Pennsylvania non-profit organization, which provided the detailed information in this lot description.

Accompanied by a photograph of President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office, with the flags standing behind him. Also included is a 1998 catalog in which a photograph of James Knox holding the presidential flag appears.

From the collection of Dr. Dean Rudoy. For more information, please click here.

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Service and Handling Description: Miscellaneous Collectibles, Large (view shipping information)

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