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Lee Harvey Oswald's Coffin Sells for $87,000 at Auction

Dec 17, 2010 – 8:30 AM
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Lauren Frayer

Lauren Frayer Contributor

(Dec. 17) -- The original coffin of JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald has found a final resting place for $87,469.

The coffin was auctioned off Thursday night, more than 47 years after President John F. Kennedy was shot dead in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. Four U.S. government investigations concluded that Oswald killed Kennedy, but he denied involvement. Oswald himself was gunned down just two days after the assassination.

The auction was conducted online by a California auction house. Bidding began at $1,000 early in the day and ended when one of two top buyers dropped out around 10 p.m. The house hasn't announced who placed the winning bid, nor what the new owner plans to do with Oswald's coffin.

Lee Harvey Oswald's Coffin
Charley Gallay, Getty Images
Lee Harvey Oswald's original pine coffin was damaged when his body was exhumed in 1981.
But the person might come forward and speak to the public today, The Associated Press reported.

"Anything connected to the JFK assassination sells for really high," auctioneer Nate D. Sanders told the BBC. The auction also included instruments used to embalm Oswald, his death certificate, an Easter card he sent to his brother and a section of the car seat the U.S. president was sitting on when he was shot.

Oswald was buried in the silk-lined, wooden coffin in 1963, but his body was exhumed in 1981. At the time, conspiracy theories swirled over who was actually buried in the coffin, and that the body could be that of a Soviet agent instead. The 1981 autopsy revealed that it was indeed Oswald buried inside. Because the original coffin was damaged when it was dug up, Oswald's body was reburied in another casket.

One of the funeral directors who participated in that autopsy, Allen Baumgardner, kept the casket because no one seemed interested in it at the time, The Dallas Morning News reported. He kept it in storage in his Fort Worth funeral home for three decades. But Baumgardner, now 68, decided last month to sell it.

"None of us is going to be around forever," he said.
Filed under: Nation, Weird News, Crime
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