In the market for some authentic Americana?
It’s been 20 years since the Kennedys sold their famous winter estate in Palm Beach, a place many Americans still closely associate with some of the family’s triumphs and travails. Now that the house has been sold again, most of the well-preserved and restored furnishings once belonging to, and well used by, America’s former first political family will be sold at auction on Saturday in West Palm Beach.
Among the 153 lots of beds, chairs, tables in the catalog at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, are some items of special or curious significance:
The family’s dining table and chairs
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The Louis XV Provincial-style mahogany banquet table seats 12. Bids open at around $2,000 for the table, and at $1,500 for 14 Spanish baroque-stye dining chairs, 12 of them original to the house.
Rose Kennedy’s steamer trunk
A well-worn black steamer trunk with a handwritten label reading “Mrs. Rose Kennedy” and the family’s Hyannis Port, Mass., address. Bids open at around $500.
John F. Kennedy’s bed
The pair of Venetian-style walnut twin beds, supplied by Palm Beach architect Addison Mizner, were used by JFK and his older brother, Joe Kennedy, when they shared a bedroom as youths. The beds were later used by JFK and Jackie Kennedy. Bids open at around $1,500.
JFK’s massage table
The president sought relief from crippling back pain on this walnut-framed massage table during his White House years. Bids open at around $1,000.
The two white concrete planters once flanked the street entrance and are often seen in photos of JFK arriving at or leaving the house. Bids open at around $500.
Coromandel eight-panel floor screen
The piece, dating to the late 19th Century, was once owned by Sir Winston Churchill’s daughter Lady Mary Soames. Rose Kennedy traded Lady Soames a fur coat for the screen while visiting her freezing castle with family patriarch Joseph Kennedy, who was Franklin Roosevelt’s ambassador to England. Bidding opens at around $1,000.
A pair of ordinary upholstered armchairs, with button tufted backs, braided welting and skirted lower borders. The chairs were part of the Winter White House Cabinet Room, a small library off the dining room, where President-elect Kennedy interviewed candidates for cabinet positions. Bidding opens at around $400.