Hundreds of memorabilia from JFK assassination up for auction

BOSTON (REUTERS) - Nearly 300 items related to former US president John F. Kennedy and to his assassination, including a lock of the president's hair and Lee Harvey Oswald's wedding ring, were put up for auction in Massachusetts on Thursday.

The sale at the Omni Parker House hotel in Boston - billed as the most extensive auction of Kennedy-related memorabilia this year - comes just weeks before the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, Texas, on Nov 22, 1963.

Among the items offered for sale was a gold wedding band that belonged to Oswald, Kennedy's assassin, along with a letter written last year by Oswald's widow, said Mr Bobby Livingston, executive vice-president of RR Auction.

"She tells us she doesn't want the ring in her possession because it connects her to the worst day of her life," he said of Mrs Marina Oswald Porter. "She wants nothing to do with Lee Harvey Oswald."

The ring, purchased at a jewellery store in Minsk and left on a night table next to Marina's bed in Irving, Texas, on the day of Kennedy's assassination, was confiscated by the US Secret Service and later returned. It remained forgotten in a lawyer's files for 49 years and was returned to Mrs Porter's family last year, Mr Livingston said.

The auction includes other items of Oswald's: a revolver, his US Marine Corps knife, a raincoat, a rifle score book and a chess set. Among the auction items linked to Kennedy was a lock of his hair collected in July 1963 by his barber and a gold ring given to him by his wife, Jacqueline, according to an auction catalog.

The 18-karat ring, bearing the presidential seal and engraved with "J.B.K. to J.F.K.," was among several engraved items that included a brass shaving kit, cigarette lighters and Kennedy's "well-worn" rosary, Mr Livingston said.