Nearly 100 Kennedy-related items auctioned ahead of JFK’s birthday
The rosary beads used to administer President John F. Kennedy’s last rites at Parkland Hospital on the day he was assassinated were auctioned for over $13,000 this month.
As part of RR Auction’s ‘The Fine Autographs and Artifacts Featuring JFK’ collection, the rosary beads used by Father James Thompson on the fateful day of President Kennedy's death were sold for $13,401.25.
The auction concluded on May 8, just ahead of President Kennedy's May 29 birthday.
The sterling silver rosary beads owned by Father James Thompson that were auctioned include a letter of provenance from the priest’s grand-niece, which says in part: "The rosary beads were given to my Great Uncle, upon his placement at Holy Trinity Church, in Dallas, TX from my Grandmother [Mary Magdalene Thompson], who was his only sister."
“My Great Uncle carried these rosary beads either in his pocket or his priest's jacket…these rosary beads were not only very special to him, but there was quite some history behind them also.”
“He told me, that these rosary beads were present with him, at Parkland Memorial Hospital when he was present, along with Fr. Oscar Huber administering the Sacrament of Last Rites to President John F. Kennedy.”
“He ended his story by simply stating, 'That these rosary beads never leave my sight, are with me all the time, and one day will return to your Grandmother, should I die, before her.'”
Prior to his death, Father Thompson penned a four-page memoir titled ‘Around One O’Clock’ in which he chronicled the events of President Kennedy’s assassination. In it, Father Thompson said he was in the rectory at his Holy Trinity parish when he heard the news about the assassination and knew that someone had to go to the hospital, one that he frequented as part of his priestly duties.
Father Thompson was joined by Father Huber in traveling to Parkland Memorial Hospital. The two were met with no resistance when they arrived at the Dallas hospital as the First Lady had apparently requested a priest be called.
Father Thompson wrote: "Father Huber was standing at the President's head reading the prayers for the dying. The President's wife, holding his right hand, was beside the President, standing there immobile as a statue— I did manage to offer a Sign of the Cross in absolution and one as a Blessing. Then Father Huber began to pray aloud the Lord's Prayer, etc., and all answered in articulate response, the President's wife seeming to lead us in response."
Watch Father Huber recount the President's last rites here:
Included in the lot featuring Father Thompson’s rosary beads were a funerary cross which belonged to Father Thompson, two rare pamphlets of his memoir ‘Around One O'Clock,’ and a funeral card honoring Rev. Thompson.
The rosary beads were part of a larger collection which also auctioned a collection of JFK negatives and photographs which sold for $9,492.50, a maternity dress worn by Jacqueline Kennedy which sold for $6,456.25, as well as Jacqueline Kennedy’s personally owned camera which sold for $3,235.00, among other items.