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UPDATE: Oswald’s ring sells for $108,000

🕐 2 min read

 JAMIE STENGLE, Associated Press

DALLAS (AP) — Lee Harvey Oswald’s gold wedding band, which he left in a cup on the dresser as he headed to work at the Texas School Book Depository the morning of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, sold at auction on Thursday for $108,000.

The ring that belonged to the man who killed Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, was among nearly 300 items linked to the president auctioned by RR Auction in Boston.

The New Hampshire-based auction house said that Oswald’s ring, which has a tiny hammer and sickle engraved on the inside of the band, was sold to a buyer from Texas who wished to remain anonymous.

Relatively recently, Oswald’s widow, Marina Oswald Porter, recovered the ring, which apparently sat forgotten for decades in the files of a Fort Worth lawyer who once did work for her. Accompanying the ring is a five-page handwritten letter dated May 5, 2013, in which Porter writes: “At this time of my life I don’t wish to have Lee’s ring in my possession because symbolically I want to let go of my past that is connecting with Nov. 22, 1963.”

At her request, the auction house did not release the full contents of the letter, in which Porter documents the history of the ring — from its purchase in the Soviet city of Minsk, Belarus, before their April, 30, 1961, wedding, to being left on the dresser at her friend Ruth Paine’s home, where she and their children were living when Kennedy was killed.

The ring took a circuitous route from the dresser to being offered at auction. In 2004, it was discovered in the files of a Fort Worth lawyer who once did work for Porter. It was in an envelope marked “Treasury Department Secret Service” with a receipt stating that Paine gave it to the Secret Service on Dec. 2, 1963.

A July 2012 letter from the Fort Worth law firm of Brackett & Ellis to Porter says the ring had apparently been in lawyer Forrest Markward’s possession since 1964.

Luke Ellis, a partner at the firm, said when the ring was discovered, the retired Markward couldn’t recall exactly how it came into his possession. Markward has since died.

Also up for auction Thursday are a white Lincoln Continental that the president and first lady rode in hours before his death and the sixth-floor window believed to have served as Oswald’s sniper perch, which the building’s owner removed in the weeks after the attack. With the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination coming up in November, the auction house gathered items ranging from Kennedy’s personal belongings to Oswald’s Marine Corps rifle score book, which sold for $54,000.

Another auction item, the sixth-floor window from the school book depository believed to have served as Oswald’s sniper perch, did not sell. The window was removed weeks after the assassination.  

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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