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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Cashing in on Camelot: Kennedy Auction Tomorrow

Aired July 18, 2003 - 20:44   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SOPHIA CHOI, CNN ANCHOR: A unique Kennedy auction gets under way tomorrow morning. Two women who worked for Jacqueline Kennedy throughout her White House years are putting more 300 items on the block. It's caused a bit of a stir, too since some of the items are pretty personal. Up for sale are JFK's beach sandals, pajamas, even a pair of boxer shorts, complete with a hand-sewn name tag. There are plenty of Jackie O items as well like this nightgown.
I'm joined now by Paula Hantman, the president of the auction house hosting the sale. Welcome.

PAULA HANTMAN, PRESIDENT, HANTMAN'S AUCTIONEERS & APPRAISERS: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.

CHOI: So how do these two women come to have all these items?

HANTMAN: Well, they worked for the Kennedys from the days when John F. Kennedy was a senator through the White House years and even beyond.

CHOI: And they just were given these items by the Kennedys or they collected it after their departure?

HANTMAN: Well, a lot of these items were gifts from the Kennedys. In other cases they were stored away in boxes and with the move between offices and residences, suddenly they appeared. And here we have some surprising things.

CHOI: Three-hundred-plus items. And you brought along with you some of the more fascinating and interesting. Let's talk about some of these. The infamous boxer shorts right here.

HANTMAN: Indeed. World War II vintage. Those were John F. Kennedy's, complete with his name sewn into the waistband.

CHOI: And let's talk about the little black book to the right of it.

HANTMAN: And the little black book contains wonderful speech fragments, daily reminders, financial ledgers, even doctor's appointments.

CHOI: John F.K.'s little blackbook. And you brought along this briefcase as well. And it's got quite a history.

HANTMAN: That it does. It was given to JFK by Jacqueline Bouvier as a wedding present, and it was handcarried by not only JFK but Jacqueline as she departed the White House at the end of the White House day. And also, it was carried by John, Jr. during his days as a student at Brown.

CHOI: Wow. So let me ask you this, who will be bidding tomorrow? Will it be avid collectors? Will it be fans?

HANTMAN: It will be just about everyone you can imagine. All of the above. Since this auction has been on the Internet we've received 180,000 visitors to our catalog. And so we have people bidding from every country and certainly that includes private collectors as well as museums and institutions.

CHOI: Well, some of these things like Jackie O's stockings, what do people want those for? What are they going to do with it?

HANTMAN: Rarity. That is the name of the game in our business, rarity. And so they will take them and they will preserve them. And that's one of the reasons why the ladies were finally disposing of them, because being packed in boxes for 50 years, it was time to turn them over to the American people for preservation purposes.

CHOI: All right. And the auction begins tomorrow.

HANTMAN: At 9:00.

CHOI: All right. Hope you have a good showing. Paula Hantman, thank you.

HANTMAN: Thank you.

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