Oswald's Casket Fetches $87,469 at Auction

December 20, 2010
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imageLee Harvey Oswald’s original coffin sold at auction Thursday night for $87,469.

The auction house declined to identify the winner but said the person might be named today.

The online bidding started at $1,000 early in the day and reached $23,000 by afternoon.

The original deadline for bidding was 7 p.m., but Nate Sanders, of Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Santa Monica, Calif., said auction rules allowed bidding to continue until one of two final competitors conceded. The auction ended about 10 p.m.

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The wooden coffin was used for the burial of Oswald in 1963 but was exhumed in 1981.

Auction officials had predicted the casket could fetch up to $100,000.

The artifact was offered for sale by Allen Baumgardner, who kept it for three decades in a storage area of his funeral home in Fort Worth. Baumgardner, 68, said that he had decided to sell it because “none of us is going to be around forever.”

Baumgardner participated in the 1981 exhumation of Oswald’s body, which was pushed by a British conspiracy theorist who believed that the man accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963 was actually a Soviet agent.

Medical examiners said the 1981 autopsy showed that the man in Oswald’s casket was indeed Oswald. The remains were placed in a new casket and reburied in the Shannon Rose Hill Cemetery in Fort Worth.

Baumgardner said he kept the old casket because no one else seemed interested in it.

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