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Gruesome: JFK's blood from death limo auctioned for $1,000

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Lyndon B. Johnson,JFK,Dallas

A blood-stained swatch of leather from the Lincoln Continental carrying former President John F. Kennedy when he was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, 50 years ago is heading to the auction block this week. Bidding starts at $1,000.

The description from the Nate D. Sanders auction site reads: "Lot #288: Chilling Relic From the Assassination of John F. Kennedy -- Leather From the Limousine: ‘...The spots on the leather are the dried blood of our beloved President...’”

Sanders is an auctioneer of Americana. His sale occurs Thursday. Online bids are OK.

The “memento” was taken by a former White House official ordered to have the limo cleaned up in case JFK’s vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson, wanted to use it for Kennedy’s funeral in November 1963. Johnson didn't.

The description of the relic said, “The spots on the light and dark blue leather are Kennedy’s dry bloodstains.”

The full description:

Piece of leather from the backseat of the Lincoln Continental in which President Kennedy was riding when he was tragically assassinated in Dallas, Texas. A haunting piece, literally cut from the limousine in which the President sat when he was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald on 22 November 1963. Clipping is dark blue leather from the border of the backseat cushion of the ''SS-100-X'', the customized open-air limousine that was lengthened, reinforced, and even had the seat raised so on-lookers could have a better view of the President. Following the assassination, F. Vaughn Ferguson, the Technical Service Representative at the White House responsible for the presidential automobiles, was directed by the Secret Service to clean the limousine and get it ready in case the new president, Lyndon B. Johnson, wanted to use it to attend the funeral. When Ferguson arrived at the garage, he found parts of the limo dismantled and the bloodied leather seats ripped out, the result of an FBI search for bullet fragments. He worked throughout the weekend to get the car ready, but President Johnson didn't use it, and the auto was then shipped to custom auto body firm Hess & Eisenhardt in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ferguson kept some of the ripped-out leather as a memento, and lot includes a copy of a typed letter signed from Ferguson, on White House letterhead, which reads in part, ''...The leather, light blue and dark blue, is from the automobile in which John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, was Assassinated...Four days after the Assassination the White House upholsterer and I removed this leather at the White House. The light blue leather is from the center of the rear seat. The dark blue letter is from the border of the rear seat. The spots on the leather are the dried blood of our beloved President, John F. Kennedy...'' Ferguson's limousine leather was acquired directly from him by Raleigh de Geer Amyx, owner of the famed Amyx Collection of Presidential memorabilia. The leather was then acquired from Amyx by Dr. John K. Lattimer, the ballistics expert consulted by the Kennedy family independently of the U.S. Government who confirmed the fatal shots were indeed fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. With a COA and paperwork from University Archives, documenting the chain of title. Leather piece measures just over 0.25'' x nearly 0.75''. Displayed attractively in a transparent pouch mounted to a mat with a caption and a photo of Kennedy in the limousine, all matted in dark blue velour to an overall size of 11'' x 14''. Near fine.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.