The Rarest of Dual Signed Kennedy Items! 1963 Christmas Card With "Blessed Christmas" Removed at the Last Minute for Kennedy's Jewish Friends

A 4.5" x 6.5" bifolium Hallmark Christmas card boldly signed in black ink by 35th U.S. President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) as “John Kennedy” and in blue ink by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy (1929-1994) as “Jacqueline Kennedy”. Color photograph on front captioned at bottom of inside left, “Créche in East Room, The White House.” An engraved message beneath the gilt-embossed Presidential Seal reads, “With best wishes for a Happy New Year." In fine condition.

Includes a typed letter dated September 22, 1987 from President Kennedy’s former personal secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, to Robert L. White, confirming the rarity of the card. It reads, in full, “This letter is to accompany all of the 1963 Christmas cards in your possession signed by our late President John F. Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy. These were the Kennedy personal Christmas cards for 1963. They were manufactured by Hallmark and have Crech in East Room. The White House on front. The inside has a gold Presidential seal with a greeting. They were limited in quantity. Jackie signed the cards early in November. The President signed them at his desk in the Oval Office shortly before his tragic death in Dallas. The cards were never sent out.” 

This is the rarest known Christmas format ever signed by a president and first lady. According to Mary Evans Seeley's book, Season's Greetings from The White House, only 50 unsigned cards bearing this sentiment, "With best wishes for a Happy New Year," were produced by Hallmark and sent to the White House for the president and first lady to sign. Before President Kennedy and Jackie left for that fateful trip to Dallas in November, only a very small number of this exceeding rare variant of the cards, with their lack of "Blessed Christmas" sentiment, were ever signed. 

Major General C.V. Clifton, Jr., Kennedy’s military aide, was informed by a letter dated November 14, 1963, from Jeannette Lee, a Hallmark V.P., that 500 of the unsigned cards would be shipped directly to him. President Kennedy was at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on November 16th to watch a test launch of a Polaris missile, then flew to Palm Beach. After speeches in Tampa and Miami on November 18th, he returned to Washington close to midnight that evening. The 500 blank cards had arrived while the President was in Florida. President Kennedy must have signed this card, by far the scarcest variant, on November 19th or November 20th. On the morning of November 21st, the president and first lady left for Texas. President Kennedy was assassinated the following day, on November 22nd, while riding in a presidential motorcade in Dallas. The existence of this card was unknown, even by the Kennedy Library, until 1985.

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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February 1, 2023 11:00 AM EST
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University Archives

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