For about 10 years now, I’ve been the answer man for a political collectors website. It’s a simple chore. People have questions about whether items are real or fake, how much they are worth, and so on. What I’ve learned in those 10 years is that there is a ton of memorabilia out there from the John F. Kennedy era, especially the assassination.
I’d estimate 60 percent of the questions I’ve received through the years concern JFK memorabilia. And about 95 percent of those questions involve JFK assassination newspapers, JFK assassination ‘Life’ magazines, or JFK plates – campaign and especially memorial. Nearly everyone is sure they are the only person who kept that ‘Life’ magazine or that (insert city name here) assassination newspaper. What they would soon learn if they checked on eBay is that nearly EVERYONE in the U.S. kept those items. Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but it sure seems that way at times.
The JFK assassination was one of the monumental events of its time. Ask anyone who was alive at the time and old enough to remember the day where they were, and chances are very, very good they can tell you. It’s much like this generation can tell you where they were on September 11, 2001. Back on that November day in 1963, I was in first grade, and I remember someone coming on the class intercom and telling us everyone was going home early that day. I recall getting home to find my mother and sister glued to the TV set (black and white, of course). The following days were filled with TV coverage of the funeral and the events surrounding it.
As the Kennedy events unfolded those days, companies were fast at work making all sorts of items to sell to the public to remember a beloved president. The assassination brought the country together much like 9/11 brought us together a decade ago. As people still hold onto those 9/11 newspapers, people back then kept everything related to the assassination, including the newspapers and magazines. Whether it was because it was a piece of history, or they thought it would be worth something some day, they saved them.
It all goes back to supply and demand, however, and those newspapers and magazines are still around today, by the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. The value today, nearly 50 years later, is still very minimal. Will they be worth more in the future? Probably, but more than likely most of us won’t be around by the time they are worth much.