JACQUELINE KENNEDY ONASSIS had the kind of class that money can't buy—but for a few hundred bucks you might be able to pick up, say, her monogrammed sterling silver Tiffany tape measure. Have a few more shekels to spare? Can we interest you in a 40-carat diamond that was a present from her second husband, Aristotle Onassis?
Those and some 4,000 other items from Jackie's Fifth Avenue apartment will be going, going, gone when Sotheby's launches a four-day auction at its New York City galleries on April 23. Proceeds, which the auctioneers estimate at more than $5 million, will go to pay estate taxes. Although the sale includes only things that the former First Lady's children, Caroline, 38, and John F. Kennedy Jr., 35, decided not to donate to the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation or keep for themselves, the array is far from lackluster. Among the available items: one of President Kennedy's famous rocking chairs, his leather hat box and the 18th-century desk he used to sign the 1963 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
But it is Jacqueline Kennedy's personal possessions that may be the most intriguing. There is a childhood textbook (A Complete Treatise on the Conjugation of French Verbs); necklaces and baubles aplenty; three used saddles and more than 3,000 books on subjects as varied as ballet, gardening and politics, many signed by such notables as Adlai Stevenson and poet Robert Lowell.
And there is, of course, one more thing: a catch. Given anticipated demand, admission to both the auction and exhibition, to be held April 19-22, will require a catalog purchase. (On sale in March for $45 in paperback, $90 hardbound, its profits will go to the Kennedy Library and charities.) Exhibition tickets, limited to 30,000, will be drawn from a lottery. Details of the auction and how to buy a little piece of Camelot have not yet been worked out.
On Newsstands Now
- Amy Robach: 'I'm Lucky to Be Alive'
- Paul Walker: Inside His Tragic Death
- Julia Roberts: Choosing Family Over Hollywood
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine