Oswald’s coffin for sale

Oswald’s coffin for sale

On November 25, 1963, John F. Kennedy was buried. Dignitaries from more than ninety countries attended the funeral in Washington DC, and the whole world watched it on television. On the same day, 2000 kilometers away, the alleged perpetrator was quietly buried. Two days after Kennedy’s assassination, he too was killed by a bullet. The simple coffin containing the body of Lee Harvey Oswald was brought to his final resting place in Fort Worth, Texas, by a few volunteers. Only close family members witnessed the modest funeral.

Eighteen years after the burial of the silk-lined wooden coffin, it was exhumed at the request of widow Marina Oswald. She was incited by some conspiracy theorists who wondered who was really in the coffin: Oswald, or a KGB agent resembling him from the Soviet Union? It was decided to exhume the coffin on October 4, 1981, against the wishes of brother Robert Oswald, to debunk the conspiracy theories through forensic tests. The autopsy quickly confirmed that it was indeed Lee Harvey Oswald. Because the original coffin was damaged during the exhumation, Oswald was reburied in a new coffin.

Almost thirty years later, in December 2010, the wood from the original coffin suddenly made headlines again. The sixty-eight-year-old owner of the mortuary and cemetery in Fort Worth, who had once assisted in embalming Oswald’s body, decided to sell the remains of the coffin through an auction. He had possessed the wood all these years. In addition to the coffin, with a starting bid of $1000, items such as a greeting card written by Oswald to his brother and the original death certificate were auctioned. Auction house Nate D. Sanders expected to earn at least a hundred thousand dollars from these macabre pieces. Pictures can be found here.

Brother Robert Oswald expressed his anger, stating that the coffin should have been destroyed immediately after the exhumation. The elderly man felt his privacy violated – he was unaware of the existence of the wood and had to be confronted with it through the media. He also claimed to have paid for the coffin in 1963, making him the rightful owner. However, his request to stop the auction was not honored. On December 17, a bid of $87,469 was eventually placed on the coffin. The identity of the buyer and their plans for the coffin were not disclosed.

Whether it’s a ballpoint pen or an official document, a silver ring, or a damaged pile of wood, if it’s related to Lee Harvey Oswald, it attracts high bids. Even fifty years after the assassination, he continues to captivate the imagination. The way he is portrayed in fiction and non-fiction varies widely: he was affectionately celebrated in Homer Henderson’s Lee Harvey Was a Friend of Mine in 1985, and in 2011, Stephen King expressed disdain for him in his hefty novel 11/22/1963. It is certain that Oswald, like John F. Kennedy, has never truly died for journalists, musicians, writers, and filmmakers.

Perry Vermeulen

Author of two books related to the assassination of JFK, published in The Netherlands in 2008 and 2012. Wrote a lot about this subject; built this website in 2023 to accommodate all those different stories. I will continue to produce new articles on the case.

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