Got $500,000 to spare? You could be the proud owner of a newly discovered piece of American history. A Philadelphia dealer in historic documents has purchased a reel-to-reel recording from Air Force One following the death of John F. Kennedy, and it’s got 30 minutes of never-before-heard conversations from the trip between Dallas and Washington, the AP reports. Top Kennedy aide Gen. Chester Clifton collected material from the JFK administration, and Philadelphia’s Raab Collection bought his archive after his widow died and is now putting the recording up for sale.
It contains in-flight radio calls between the aircraft, the White House Situation Room, Andrews Air Force Base, and a plane that was carrying Kennedy's press secretary and six Cabinet members. A shortened version of the recording is in the National Archives, and the Raab Collection will donate a copy of the long version to the archives and to the JFK Library. "It took decades to analyze the shorter, newer version and it will take years to do the same here," said Nathan Raab. Among other things, he said the tape will end speculation as to the whereabouts of Kennedy adversary Gen. Curtis LeMay right after the murder; he has long been a key figure among assassination researchers. An aide is heard trying to raise him: He "is in a C140. Last three numbers are 497. His code name is Grandson. And I want to talk to him."