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Lot # 1215 (of 1411)   < Previous Lot | Next Lot >

John F. Kennedy Campaign Head Displayed at the 1960 Democratic Convention

Starting Bid - $2,000.00, Sold For - $2,320.00

This is, without question, one of the most extraordinary and interesting items relating to politics, folk art, and Americana we have ever seen. This unique John F. Kennedy papier-mâché head was very prominently displayed during the 1960 National Democratic Convention held in Los Angeles, California. This was the single most striking item that was displayed at the convention, the one item that everyone attending remembers, and which is captured in countless photographs of the festivities of the convention. This gigantic visual prop, measuring approximately sixty inches in circumference and thirty-three inches high, is one of the most unique, significant, and ideal-for-display relics from the 1960 presidential race and from the entire Kennedy era. The head is mounted upon a square wood base and was originally displayed at the convention by means of a long sturdy pole. Proudly hoisted high in the air, it waved in stark contrast to the more conventional "Kennedy For President" signs issued to his supporters. While two examples were made for use at the 1960 National Democratic Convention, this is the only surviving example. That limited number is not surprising given the amount of time and artistry involved in their creation. Unfortunately, the other known example did not survive the wild jubilation of Kennedy's nomination and eventually fell to the ground where it was trampled by the throng of people. Accompanying the head are four photographic images picturing either one or both of the heads being displayed at the convention. Two of the images are provided by a July 25, 1960 Life magazine (the head is actually featured on the cover as well as in an interior photo). It is also featured in the book Meet John Kennedy by Nancy Bean White, which accompanies, as well as in the form of an original 8 x 10 black-and-white photo of the convention. An enlarged framed display print of the original photograph (24 x 18 inches) is also included. The head remains in a fine state of preservation, especially considering both its age and somewhat fragile nature. This is a true work of figural art that was designed with a specific function, to show support for Kennedy, while being eye-catching in a sea of activity with a cast of thousands on the convention floor, visible from the stage, from every vantage point of the convention, and prominent in convention photographs. This is the signature Kennedy prop from the 1960 Democratic Convention. Almost all of the original paint remains intact. There are a few minor nicks/abrasions throughout. The original mounting pole is not included. Due to the weight and size of this piece, the shipping charges (depending on exactly where it is sent and method of shipping) may be substantial. Reserve $2,000. Estimate (open). SOLD FOR $2,320.00


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