Lot 80

4 JFK Assassination Teletypes From Merchant Ship

Previous image preload Next image preload

4 JFK Assassination Teletypes From Merchant Ship

Estimate: $1,800 - $2,000

Current Bid: $750

(3 Bids)

August 17, 2022 10:30 AM EDT
Live Auction
Wilton, CT, US


4 JFK Assassination Teletypes From Merchant Ship

A small group of four original teletype rolls reporting the assassination of 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. The news bulletins were received at sea by a merchant ship subscribed to a transportation news service. Provenance information includes photocopies of some of the transcripts, as well as newspaper clippings related to the recent sales history of similar assassination transcripts at auction.

While transportation news services primarily reported port conditions, weather forecasts, market activity, and the like, they also reported general news. Consequently, information about Kennedy's shooting trickled in between commodity price reports for such items as sugar, coal, grain, ammonium sulfate, fertilizers, cotton, and scrap metal. The disconcerting juxtaposition between the extraordinary (assassination news) and the ordinary (market prices) is jarring but realistic. A merchant mariner perusing the teletype that day would have experienced the same mixture of horror and disbelief. The teletype rolls are ephemera in the truest sense of the word; these daily bulletins were read and then nearly always discarded.

The media outlets that produced the teletypes were Western Union Telegram and United Press International (UPI) as transmitted via Transportation News Ticker, Inc. of New York. (A firm of the same name, Transportation News Ticker (TNT), specializing in transportation-specific news, still operates today by monthly subscription service.) Two of the teletypes were printed in turquoise ink on cream paper and two of the teletypes were printed in black on manila colored paper. Expected wear includes gentle curling, minor isolated chipped edges, closed tears, holes, water stains, edge discoloration, and color smear or bleed-through, else very good to near fine. The teletypes average around 8.25" wide and range from 36.25" long at the shortest to 63.25" long at the longest.

Teletypes were typed quickly by hand and sent via telephone lines to newsrooms (and vessels) across the country and the world. As such, their transcripts contain numerous spelling errors, factual errors, and typographical errors, all mistakes testifying to the fact that the reports were transmitted in as close to real time as 1963 technology would allow. Information is received in scraps, later confirmed, retracted, or expanded by minute-by-minute bulletins. The result makes riveting reading. Current events merge into the historical record before our very eyes.

The lot is comprised of:

1. UPI teletype roll measuring 8.375" x 42.5." The teletype reports that Kennedy was just shot and speculates on whether the president is still alive.

In part, with original spelling:

"Add President Kennedy shot

Blood was spattered over the limousine, which had been flown in specially to carry the president in a welcoming parade. The driver was Secret Service man Bill Greer.

Mrs. Kennedy apparently was safe. Mrs. Connally also was safe, it appeared. Both women were stunned.

Kennedy, according to a member of his staff, was still alive at 12.55 PM CST…"

2. UPI teletype roll measuring 8.25" x 63.25." The bulletins confirm that Kennedy was indeed dead; that a suspect was arrested; that Dallas Police Department police officer J.D. Tippit was killed; that Lyndon Johnson was sworn-in; and that the suspect was identified as Lee Harvey Oswald.

In part, with untouched spelling:

"Add President Kennedy Assassinated

The shooting occurred as Kennedy and his wife, riding with Gov. Connally and Mrs. Connally, were riding in the White House 'bubbletop' limousine through a crow of 250,000 people, in downtown Dallas.

As it neared the tirple underpass leading toward the Trade Mart where Kennedy was to address a lunch, three bursts of gunfire sounded…

President Kennedy was shot at approximately 12.30 P.M. CST /1.30 PM EST/ and died at approximately 1 P.M. CST /2 PM EXT/. H was the fourth U.S. President to be killed in office…

The Chief Executive, first Roman Catholic President of the United States and in Dallas on a politicking mission for a second term, was smiling broadly as he rode through downtown streets.

'Then that awful look crossed his face,' said a man at curbside only 15 feet away.

The identity of the assassin or assassins was not immediately known…

Assassin Suspect Identified

Dallas, Nov. 22 - UPI -- Police today seized Lee H. Oswald, identified as chairman of a 'Fair Play for Cuba Committee,' as the prime suspect in the assassination of President Kennedy.

Police said Oswald, 24, was accused in the slaying of a Dallas policeman shortly after the shooting of the president.

Police Capt. Pat Cannaway said the suspect was an employe in the building where a rifle was found.

Cannaway said the suspect had visited Russia and was married to a Russian. This was not immediately confirmed…"

3. Western Union Telegram teletype roll measuring 8.375" x 36.25." The teletype confirms that both Kennedy and Connally were shot and receiving medical treatments; and reported that markets, including the American Stock Exchange, had been shuttered.

In part, with original spelling:


Add Kennedy
Governor John Connally of Texas was also shot. It as still not known whether either was killed.
Comtel '''''''
Latest reports from Dallas say that both Pres Kennedy and Governor Connoly are alive and undergoing treatment in the emergency room at the hospital…"

4. Western Union Telegram teletype roll measuring 8.5" x 40.5." News reports confirmed the death of Kennedy; reported Johnson's swearing-in; and surveyed international reaction from the Vatican and Kremlin.

In part, with untouched spelling:

"Kennedy Dead '''''''
Kennedy Dead
This report emminated from a priest at the hospital we awaiting confirmation ''''
Washington confirms President Dead '''''

John F. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, served in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before defeating Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election by a narrow margin. He was the youngest person elected to the presidency, as well as the only Catholic president. Lyndon B. Johnson's Executive Order 11130 issued on November 29, 1963 announced the appointment of a "Commission to Report Upon the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy." The 7-person task force was commonly known as the Warren Commission after its Chairman, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren. Though the commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone shooter, many conspiracy theories still surround Kennedy's assassination.

Please see our terms and conditions of sale regarding large lots.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Accepted Forms of Payment:

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


Unless otherwise indicated, we do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice. If any changes to the shipping address need to be made, you must inform us immediately.***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 10 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Wilton, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

University Archives

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000