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Lot 242

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Lee Harvey Oswald's Fascinating 12-Pc Life Insurance Policy Archive!

An archive relating to a life insurance policy belonging to suspected presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963). The policy was taken out for Lee by his mother in 1945, when he was just 5 1/2 years old, and later submitted for settlement following his shooting death in November 1963. Provenance: From the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist; previously exhibited in the Mason Dixon Militaria store in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The 12-pc collection includes insurance policy applications, forms, and internal memos from the National Life and Accident Insurance Company, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, ca. 1945-1963. Various clerical marks, hand-stamps, and dockets are present. Expected wear including folds, chipped edges, minor closed tears, and isolated loss. Else very good to near fine. Additional details can be seen in the attached photos. The average size of the documents is 8.5" x 11."

Marguerite Oswald (1907-1981) took out a life insurance policy for youngest son Lee on April 17, 1945. Policy no. 942157 provided a $1,000 payout for an average annual premium of $20.54 which also included double indemnity coverage.

Lee's life insurance policy was active until at least 1957, but there is some uncertainty about whether the coverage lapsed after that point. Marguerite approached the National Life and Accident Insurance Company for a $863 settlement in early December 1963--less than 10 days after Lee's murder on November 24th. She also sought a double indemnity, a double payout typically granted to an insured's family only in cases of accidental death. $863 in 1963 money is the equivalent of more than $7,000 in 2020 currency.

It is unknown whether Marguerite's claim was ever processed. Internal memos suggest the National Life and Accident Insurance Company attempted to renege on payments by claiming that the life insurance policy had lapsed, and life insurance executives may have soured once Marguerite started lobbying for a double indemnity payment. In an interview conducted by "Texas Monthly" magazine in November 1973, Marguerite claimed she was penniless.

The lot is comprised of:

1. "Ordinary Application Data Sheet / The National Life and Accident Insurance Company" showing details of the original policy. Lee's age is recorded in the upper left corner recto as "5."

2. "Form-2000 Nat'l Life Ord." showing the policy number, annual premium, payout, and name of insured's parent/guardian. Several closed tears and loss at top.

3. "File Copy of Abstract of Application" showing Marguerite Oswald listed as the beneficiary; her 4801 Victor Street, Dallas, Texas address; and two character references. Two areas of discoloration left from adhesive tape, else very good.

4. "The National Life and Accident Insurance Company / Ordinary Department Policy Transmittal Letter" from the Fort Worth South District showing that a full loan value of the life insurance policy was requested in April 1957.

5. "Certificate of Extended Term Coverage." Of extreme importance to Marguerite's claim that Lee's life insurance policy was still valid in December 1963, this typed document records Lee's life insurance policy expiration date as September 17, 1967.

In part: "If the Insured dies prior to the Date of Expiration, and due proof thereof is furnished to the Company at its Home Office, the amount of Extended Term Insurance set forth above will become payable to the beneficiary of record under the policy…"

6. "Claimant's Certificate / Notice of Claim / Proof of Death" partially completed at top.

7. "Form 42 Rev. 4-60" also partially incomplete.

8. A memorandum from Ed Howard, Manager Southwest Territory on "National Life and Accident Insurance Company" letterhead dated December 3, 1963. In part: "It was decided [to issue a] check in the amount of $863 in favor of Marguerite Oswald…she refused to accept the check for the reason [that]…the policy was in force and that we owed her double indemnity…"

9. A follow-up memorandum from a Home Office Supervisor on the same letterhead dated December 12, 1963. In part: "Mr. Waters further stated that Mrs. Oswald was very pleasant but expressed an opinion that she did not believe that this policy had lapsed and wanted to get the correct information from the President of the Company…"

10. A memorandum dated December 23, 1963 from C.H. Berson, Vice President and Manager of the Insurance Services Department, on similar company letterhead.

11. A National Life and Accident Insurance Company form hand-stamped "Specimen copy," with a bracket drawn next to the item: "Agreement Not in Force if Policy Lapsed or under Non-Forfeiture Benefit."

12. A copy of Lee Harvey Oswald's Dallas Police Department mug shot.

This phenomenal archive was purchased on eBay in March 2017 for $4,450.

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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