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Kennedy memorabilia on show ahead of 50th anniversary auction

The rocking chair, used by former US President John F. Kennedy in the White House, is displayed at Heritage Auctions October 17, 2013 in New York
The rocking chair, used by former US President John F. Kennedy in the White House, is displayed at Heritage Auctions October 17, 2013 in New York

Two flags and a rocking chair from US president John F. Kennedy's Oval Office went on show in New York Thursday ahead of auction 50 years after his assassination.

The items are the highlights of 110 lots of Kennedy family memorabilia from a private collection going under the hammer in Dallas, Texas on November 23.

The young, charismatic Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas as he passed in an open top car with his wife Jacqueline on November 22, 1963.

Heritage Auctions house expects the US and presidential seal flags, which hung behind Kennedy's desk in the Oval Office, to fetch $100,000 and the chair $50,000.

It says the rocking chair was often moved into the Oval Office to help alleviate Kennedy's chronic back pain as he sat through meetings and long working hours.

"This one was used often by the president in his daily life at the White House," said Tom Slater, director of Americana at Heritage Auctions.

"In fact, it’s believed that the indentation in the backrest cushion was made by the back brace Kennedy wore."

The flags remained in the Oval Office until five days after his assassination when Jacqueline asked them to be given to his personal secretary Evelyn Lincoln.

"It’s hard to imagine a rarer or more evocative presidential artifact than the very flags that oversaw the daily business of running the most powerful nation in the world," said Slater.

The items were collected by Dean Rudoy, who volunteered for Kennedy's campaign in 1960 as an 11-year-old and who worked on Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign.

They include rare desktop items from the Oval Office -- a sterling silver paperweight, a Sheaffer fountain pen set and a rolling blotter.

There is also a handwritten note that Kennedy wrote as a 17-year-old senior to his boarding school headmaster praising a freshman he had been assigned to assist.

Among the Jacqueline memorabilia is a handwritten note asking her personal secretary Mary Gallagher to get the president a subscription to "History Today."

A mirror from the Kennedy compound in Massachusetts, is also up for sale. It is visible in a photograph of Jacqueline reading to her daughter Caroline.

Caroline, the Kennedys' sole surviving child, was on Wednesday approved by the Senate as ambassador to Japan.

Kennedy's assassination, one of the most defining moments of the 20th century, continues to fascinate people across the United States and abroad.

His killer Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested an hour and 20 minutes after the shooting but later shot dead by club owner Jack Ruby before he could face trial.

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