This year marks the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s 45th birthday gala and is the perfect opportunity to explore our collection of President Kennedy’s artifacts!
Dress to Impress
Marilyn Monroe’s dress from the birthday celebration is the world’s most expensive dress ever sold at auction. It was purchased for $4.8 million, but with taxes and fees, the dress surpassed $5 million! Believe it or Not!, the dress is currently valued at a staggering $10 million!
While this is Ripley’s most expensive item, it is only one of around 25,000 items in the Ripley’s exhibit collection valued at $125 million! Our collection includes historically significant artifacts, unique and incredible art, cultural relics, quirks of nature, pop culture memorabilia, and, of course Robert Ripley’s personal effects.
Let’s dive into some of the most fascinating artifacts of our JFK collection!
Another Year Older
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the New York birthday event, Ripley’s possesses the Madison Square Garden birthday gala ticket from 1962! The event functioned as a fundraiser for the Democratic Party, and according to newspaper and film accounts from the evening, the birthday celebration was attended by over 15,000 guests!
Our collection also includes an original Kennedy “birthday salute” poster which served to advertise the star-studded evening to the public around New York City.
Another unbelievable item in our John F. Kennedy collection is the back brace that was used throughout President Kennedy’s time in office. President Kennedy suffered chronic back pain starting in his early twenties and underwent multiple operations with little success.
Throughout his term, President Kennedy frequented the use of back braces to combat his chronic pain. Believe it or Not!, many believe that the use of his back brace played a fatal role in his assassination, with some experts pointing to the stiffness of the brace and President Kennedy’s inability to bend his body to avoid incoming fire.
Related to the unfortunate assassination of President Kennedy, Ripley’s owns the black and chrome 1954 sedan that was used by Lee Harvey Oswald on the day he shot the President.
Oswald did not have a driver’s license and would regularly have his neighbor and close friend, Buell Wesley Frazier, drive him to work.
On the morning of November 22, 1963, Frazier drove Oswald to the Texas School Book Depository. In the back seat of the car, wrapped in paper, was the rifle that Oswald would use later that day to assassinate President Kennedy. Frazier, at the time, believed that the wrapped package was nothing more than curtain rods.
Made The Cut
Ripley’s is proud to own hair clippings from President Kennedy obtained by the White House barber, Harry Gelbart — how extraordinary is that!
The clippings were cut shortly before President Kennedy’s fateful trip to Dallas and are framed against a white canvas showcasing the former President’s reddish brown locks.
John F. Kennedy is a figure showered in intrigue and tragedy and leaves behind a legacy of extraordinary proportions. Ripley’s is proud to forward that legacy by showcasing items that were not only a part of his intrigue, but in some cases, were also a genuine part of him!
Check out our episode of Ripley’s Up Close & Peculiar where Kurtis dives behind the scenes and into detail about some of President Kennedy’s artifacts mentioned above!
Also, for a limited time, beginning Memorial Day weekend, catch Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday” dress along with Ripley’s JFK memorabilia on display at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Hollywood! Grab a glimpse while you can!