John F. Kennedy, Jr. Baby Gift, Enameled Virgin Misericordia Religious Medal.
A religious medal given to the Kennedys after the birth of John, Jr., from the collection of Mary Barelli Gallagher (born 1928), Jacqueline Kennedy's private secretary. The oval medal depicts the Virgin Misericordia in bright blue enamel recto, and an "M", stars, and sacred heart emblems in matte silver finish verso. The medal is secured by a baby blue ribbon to a pointed oak tag measuring 1.625" x 3.25". Near fine, the tag with expected toning. Accompanied by a provenance document signed by Mary Barelli Gallagher on March 16, 2015.
As Gallagher explains in her signed provenance document: "This baby gift is one of the many gifts that had arrived daily to the home of President-Elect and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, 3307 N St., N.W., Georgetown, Washington, D.C. on the occasion of John Jr.'s birth, November 25, 1960. Mrs. Kennedy would ask that I prepare a letter of thanks to the sender for her to sign, and this is one of the gifts that she offered me to take home. I donated the vast majority of these gifts to various charities, others I gave away to friends, relatives, etc., keeping the more interesting ones, such as this, for myself…"Since John F. Kennedy, Jr. was the first baby ever born to an incoming elected president, John-John's firsts were monitored with universal interest. The Kennedys received thousands of gifts from around the world, ranging from booties knitted by Kennedy supporters watching televised election debates, to Catholic devotional gifts like this religious medallion. Three presidential staffers worked full-time cataloging baby gifts, and as we know, Jackie needed a secretary to prepare all of her thank you notes!
Mary Barelli Gallagher served as secretary to then Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy between 1953-1956, and as private secretary to Jackie Kennedy between 1956-1964. During her time working for the Kennedys, Gallagher collected notes, photos, and mementos, and even inherited some of Jackie's clothing and pets. Some of Gallagher's recollections are shared in her 1969 My Life with Jacqueline Kennedy.
Provenance: Ex-Bonhams March 9, 2017 sale; Ex-Mary Barelli Gallagher
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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