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JFK's Harvard Sweater Has a New Owner

Presidential items auctioned ran from Washington to Biden
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 19, 2021 4:38 PM CST

(Newser) – John F. Kennedy's Harvard University sweater, given away to a television cameraman who mentioned that he was chilly while interviewing Jacqueline Kennedy, has sold at auction for more than $85,000. The crimson wool cardigan, featuring a large, black, block-letter "H" and eight white mother-of-pearl buttons, was one of several mementos from US presidents sold during a President's Day auction that ended Thursday, according to Boston-based RR Auction. JFK's Harvard sweater, with his surname sewn into the collar, was acquired by Herman Lang, a CBS cameraman who filmed an interview with Jacqueline Kennedy in 1964, the year after the 35th president's assassination in Dallas. It is believed that because the interview was outdoors, Lang mentioned that he was cold and was offered the sweater, according to RR Auction. When he offered to return it, he was told to keep it as a reminder of the late president, the AP reports.

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Other presidential items sold include a signed photograph of Abraham Lincoln and his son Tad, one of only three known photos of the pair; it brought more than $135,000. The photo was taken at Mathew Brady's studio in Washington by Anthony Berger. A lottery ticket signed by George Washington went for almost $26,000, and a touching handwritten letter from Ronald Reagan to his estranged daughter sold for almost $24,000. Documents and personal papers signed by John Quincy Adams, James Monroe, James Madison, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, James Buchanan, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, and other presidents were also auctioned. The collection reached present-day, with a photograph of President Biden autographed in gold ink, per Smithsonian magazine. Items in the collection started at $100.

(Read more auction stories.)

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