University Archives

Lot 132

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White House Zippo Lighter for the Unhappy Christmas after the Kennedy Assassination

A Zippo cigarette lighter presented as a gift during the Christmas season of 1963, from the collection of Ron Hoskins, assassinologist.

The Zippo "windproof" slim model silver finished cigarette lighter has a view of the South Portico of the White House on the front, and the message "From / the / White House Staff / Christmas 1963" on the back in green lettering. The cap opens to reveal a classic flint-wheel ignition, with the wick intact. The Zippo logo appears on the base of the cigarette lighter, as well as in the interior of its original custom clamshell jewelry case, fitted with an indentation at the base to house the lighter. Its original printed note "For Best Results"-- concerning cleaning and usage--is tucked inside the case. The lighter appears pristine and nearly devoid of surface wear. The unit is assumed to be in working order but has not been tested. It measures 1.125" x 2.125" alone.

In the Kennedy White House, Zippo cigarette lighters were sometimes distributed to commemorate specific events, like John F. Kennedy's trip to Europe in late June 1963. This Christmas 1963 lighter is unusual to find, however, presumably because of its painful associations.

Widowed First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy moved out of the White House on December 6, 1963, two weeks to the day after her husband's assassination on November 22, 1963. She and her two children celebrated Christmas in Palm Beach, Florida that year before returning to a new home in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

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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November 11, 2020 10:30 AM EST

Westport, CT, US

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