John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s "Piper" Brand Baseball Cap, Recovered from the Hatchback of his Saab, with Extensive Provenance
A baseball cap bearing an embroidered "Piper" logo personally owned by John F. Kennedy, Jr. (1960-1999), and recovered from the hatchback of his Saab after he left on his fatal flight to Martha's Vineyard. Provenance: From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist.
The Luna Basics (Bangladesh) baseball cap has a cobalt blue crown with red "Piper" logo embroidered on the front panels, accented by a matching red visor, button, and eyelets. The dark blue plastic back strap was left undone. Expected surface wear including traces of white residue on the top and underside of the bill, and minor darkening along the back edges of the bill. Else very good to near fine. The hat measures approximately 9" long by 7" wide by 4.5" high. We could not find any photographs showing John F. Kennedy, Jr. wearing this actual baseball cap, but his predilection for wearing backwards facing baseball caps is well-documented.
The baseball cap was among several items found in the hatchback of John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s car, a dark green 2-door hatchback 1994 Saab 900 SE, which he left in preparation for his fatal July 16, 1999 flight. The other items in the trunk included a football, a soccer ball, a container of motor oil or window washer fluid, rope, and a March 1999 issue of "Rolling Stone" magazine.
JFK, Jr. probably received the hat as a freebie after buying his Piper Saratoga plane in April 1999. The Piper PA-32R-301, Saratoga II model single engine plane could accommodate six passengers. Before upgrading his plane to the Piper, JFK, Jr. flew a more basic Cessna Skylane 182 model.
On July 16, 1999, JFK, Jr., along with his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy (1966-1999) and sister-in-law Lauren Bessette (1964-1999), departed Essex County Airport in New Jersey for Martha's Vineyard. Kennedy had planned on dropping off Lauren in Martha's Vineyard, and then continuing on to Hyannis Port to attend his cousin Rory's wedding.
JFK, Jr. had accumulated over 310 hours of flying experience, including 55 at night, after obtaining his private pilot's license in 1998. Before the fatal flight, JFK, Jr. completed the trip between New Jersey and Martha's Vineyard dozens of times. The plane crashed nearly nose first into the Atlantic Ocean about 7 miles west of the western coast of Martha's Vineyard just over 1 hour after take-off. All aboard died upon impact. Experts concluded that nighttime flying conditions and possible haze caused spatial disorientation. Some suspect that marital stress, business problems, or lack of sleep could have also impacted the pilot's performance.
The baseball cap is accompanied by extensive provenance which shows a clear chain of custody for the car that it was found in. New York lawyer Kevin J. Hynes, a close friend of Kennedy's and one of the ushers at his memorial service, purchased the car from JFK, Jr.'s estate in the summer of 2000.
John F. Kennedy, Jr. purchased his brand new 1994 Saab in the summer of 1994 for over $29,000, which is the equivalent of $52,000 in 2020 currency. He drove the car nearly every day, frequently around New York City; there are numerous photographs of John F. Kennedy in or next to the car, sometimes in altercations with paparazzi.
The provenance includes:
1. Five 6" x 4" glossy color photographs taken of the contents of John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s car on July 23, 1999, just one day after his ashes were scattered in the Atlantic Ocean near the Martha's Vineyard crash site. A "New York Times" newspaper, probably dated from the same day, was laid within the trunk to confirm when the photos were taken. The photos, taken in the driveway of Hynes's home in Larchmont, New York, clearly show the car's license plate E97 4JB, as well as the distinctive turquoise padded bike rack on top.
2. Photocopies of a 2pp letter on "Battle Fowler, LLP" letterhead dated June 6, 2000. The original letter was accompanied by the car title and bill of sale for JFK, Jr.'s car. The sale of the car for $6,000 was authorized by Timothy P. Shriver, the executor of JFK, Jr.'s estate and his paternal cousin.
3. Photocopy of John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s car title for the Saab issued on March 28, 2000.
4. Photocopy of the Odometer Disclosure Statement showing the Saab's mileage at just over 30,000 miles on May 31, 2000.
5. Photocopy of the Bill of Sale dated May 31, 2000.
6. Photocopy of a Certificate of Letters Testamentary confirming that the estate of John F. Kennedy, Jr. was transferred to Timothy P. Shriver on September 24, 1999.
7. Photocopy of a 1p letter on "Hynes & Randazzo, LLP" letterhead dated July 19, 2000. The original letter accompanied a check for the purchase price of the car.
8. Photocopy of the sales receipt of the Saab from the Zumbach Sports Car dealership of 629 West 54th Street, New York City dated July 29, 1994. The receipt shows that JFK, Jr. bought the car, complete with phone hookup and CD player, for $29,841.21.
9. Photocopy of the Retail Certificate of Sale for the Saab dated July 29, 1994.
10. Photocopies of a 2pp letter written by Caroline Kennedy, JFK, Jr.'s older sister, and addressed to Kevin J. Hynes, dated September 14, , along with a photocopy of the original transmittal envelope. In part: "I know how much John valued your friendship and enjoyed your company…"
11. Photocopy of a 1p letter typed on "Caroline Kennedy" letterhead addressed to Kevin J. Hynes, dated October 1999, along with a photocopy of the original transmittal envelope.
12. Photocopies of a 2pp letter written by Caroline Kennedy addressed to Kevin J. Hynes, dated September 18, , along with a photocopy of the original transmittal envelope. In part: "I hope the car is working. You were very brave to buy it. I'm glad you did."
Scans of individual provenance documents are available upon request.
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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