JFK's Wartime Diary Sells for $718,750

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Presidential possessions have always commanded attention and high prices at auction, but few former leaders have held the interest of collectors more than John F. Kennedy. In 2013, his leather bomber jacket sold for $570,000 and an 18 karat ring fetched $90,000. The latest in Kennedy artifacts expected to command a premium didn’t disappoint.

On April 26, a 61-page diary kept when Kennedy was a journalist stationed in Europe for the Hearst newspaper company in 1945 sold for $718,750, far exceeding Boston-based RR Auction’s $200,000 estimate. The writings—mostly typed, with 12 pages of handwritten materials—contain Kennedy’s thoughts on the Soviet Union, musings on the aftermath of Adolf Hitler’s reign of destruction, and passages on the United Nations.

In a glimpse of the contents provided by ABC News, Kennedy, who was 28 years old at the time, took an intriguing position on the German dictator, writing that “he had in him the stuff of which legends are made” and that “within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived."

The diary was later given by Kennedy to one of his campaign workers in 1959. The assistant, Deirdre Henderson, told NPR that she had largely ignored the document due to the time constraints of supporting Kennedy's presidential bid. The writings were eventually published under the title Prelude to Leadership in 1995.

[h/t Associated Press]