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JFK: Authentic or Secreterial?

Hi guys, happy to connect.

I have done my research and have my own opinions but would like to know what more experienced hobby members think of this signature.

Thank you in advance


  • JBKJBK Posts: 14,476 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very early sig. Not sure.

  • JMS1223JMS1223 Posts: 1,093 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My opinion - I think it’s secretarial unfortunately.

    Related story of an experience I had a little over ten years ago.

    I was at a big flea market and came across this guy selling a bunch of old items from 1950s-1960s in his booth. It appeared he was unloading a bunch of stuff from a relative who passed away. Sitting on an old tray next to other old random papers was an old folder that said “JFK letter.” I opened the folder and inside was an old US Senate envelope postmarked from the 1950s. I opened that envelope and found a letter on JFK’s senate letterhead inside. It looked similar to the one in the original post except that it was from the US Senate and dated 1955. The signature looked a little messier too.

    I asked the man selling it if the signature was authentic. He simply stated repeatedly “it is definitely not autopen” indicating it was signed by hand. Of course that could mean signed by someone other than Kennedy himself. The signature looked very similar to examples I had seen before so I asked the man how much he wanted for it. He said $200. I bought it thinking it looked authentic and figured if I was right I got a great deal.

    Later that night I did some research online and find my exact Kennedy letter for sale on eBay in the ended auctions. It was unsold at $50. The description was very brief - “Original JFK Letter - Not Autopen” This was a huge red flag. I later had the letter examined by several experts and all of them said it was very likely signed by a secretary. According to them 99% of all Kennedy Senator letters were secretarial (instead of authentic autograph) and that White House letters would be autopen while Senator letters were secretarial. However the earlier letters have a better chance of being authentic - so your letter here has a better chance of being authentic than my Senate letter did. But the odds are still very likely secretarial. I would have it looked at by an expert just in case. Kennedy’s signature is one of the most difficult to authenticate.

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