University Archives

Lot 129

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An iconic piece of the fence that lined the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza

Three inch chunk of wood from the original famous fence from the grassy knoll in Dealy Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Accompanied by a letter of Certification from the Fence company responsible for the dismantling of the fence which was replaced in January of 2000.

Some Kennedy Assassination theorists believe that a second shooter hid behind the fence waiting to shoot President Kennedy as he drove by in his motorcade. An exact replica of the fence was erected with the help of the Dallas Parks Department and the Sixth Floor Museum. Immediately after the shooting witnesses said they saw several police officers in the parking lot atop the grassy knoll and their presence was often cited as evidence of an assassin firing from behind the fence.

Initially the Grassy Knoll wasn't suspected by researchers as a source of the shots. In Thomas Buchanan's 1964 book, "Who Killed Kennedy" the theory was based that a shot from the Triple Underpass on a "bullet hole" that reportedly passed through the limousine's windshield. Only when the Warren Commission demonstrated the windshield could have been hit from the interior and released the testimony of Sam Holland that shifted attention to the grassy knoll. The Grassy Knoll has since been a favorite of researchers, who've deduced "assassins" and "puffs of smoke" from numerous photographs that captured the area. In 1967 came the sensational announcement that a "classic gunman" shape was apparent on a frame of the poor-quality 8mm film taken by Orville Nix. Within months, Josiah Thompson had laid that one to rest, noting the same shadow pattern effect in a frame taken long after the assassination. In 1965, critic David Lifton studied copies of the Moorman Polaroid, which included much of the Grassy Knoll at the near-instance of the fatal shot. Lifton thought one of the bushes on the knoll was an artificial blind for a sniper. In 1976, yet another shape materialized from the shadows in a Moorman blowup in Robert Groden's book JFK: The Case for Conspiracy. From the same image, Texas researchers Gary Mack and Jack White presented a shape they called "Badgeman" in the 1988 documentary "The Men Who Killed Kennedy." That same year, at NOVA's request, technicians at MIT analyzed the shape, concluding it "took some imagination" to render it into a human figure. One shape on the knoll has been confirmed as human; the "Black Dog Man" figure at the Bryan Colonnade's retaining wall seen in the Willis and Betzner photographs as the limousine moves down Elm. Critics have made much of this shape, some even suggesting he was holding a "rifle." But a long-forgotten interview of Marilyn Sitzman by Josiah Thompson determined the shape was nothing.

Provenance: Accompanied by a Letter of Certification by an employee of the Fence company, J&M Fence, who was under contract by the City of Dallas to remove the wooden fence. The employee was instructed to dismantle the fence, and stack the remains for removal which was then latter offered to Mr. Ronald Rice who had requested to keep what was salvaged from the removal.

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.


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September 30, 2020 10:30 AM EDT

Westport, CT, US

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