Holiday Auction Closing December 7 ,2019
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 12/7/2019

The assassination of John F. Kennedy hit the American people harder than the death of any President since the founding of the nation. This was in part due to Kennedy’s youthful persona which resonated with not only the World War II veterans who were his contemporaries, but also with the younger generation who looked to him as a bright beacon, leading to then into the future. For many, this brief, hopeful era came to an end on November 22, 1963.

Almost immediately, plans were begun to design and construct a memorial appropriate for the man who had given millions hope. A cold stone and marble tomb, the time-honored choice for a monument to honor a fallen world leader, would not due for someone of John F. Kennedy’s warmth and youth. John Carl Warnecke, and architect and friend of the Kennedy’s, came up with the concept of a simple grave in Arlington National Cemetery, marked with an eternal flame. Jaqueline Kennedy supported the idea, but both she and Warnecke were met with mounds of red tape. The Army Corps of Engineers initially refused to approve the project and many designers and architects thought the idea of an “eternal flame” kitschy. Fortunately, John Carl Warnecke persisted and the eternal flame became a reality when it was opened to the public in the fall of 1966.

Offered here is original Perpetual Flame Torch which stood vigil over President John F. Kennedy’s memorial in Arlington from 1966 until 1967 when the current memorial was consecrated. This incredible artifact and accompanying archive traces the development of this unique monument from the drawing board to reality. The first piece in this collection is the actual “Perpetual Flame Torch.” Unlike the replacement eternal flames installed in the decades which are low to the ground and very simple, this original concept was designed to resemble a votive candle. Measuring approximately 19 inches in height, the torch is constructed of stainless steel and bronze parts adapted from several existing sources: the head is a stock “Tiki” model head from Craftsman Copper Company of Costa Mesa, California while the outer weather shield is the smallest bowl of a Sears stainless steel mixing bowl set.

The piece shows wear from exposure to the four seasons with heavy toning to the metal surface giving it a warm patina. The Perpetual Flame Torch is accompanied by a portfolio of paperwork and correspondence dating from the 1964 to 1966 period. Included is a construction drawing of the torch head and memos from several of the companies that aided in its construction. Additionally, there are several letters regarding the development of the torch, discussing such details as the ideal Btuh rating for the flame and its safety testing by the FBI. The seven documents show edge wear and toning with some tears along the edges. A pair of black and white snapshots taken during the construction of the memorial and placement of the torch completes this one of a kind historical artifact. This archive originates from the Utilization Engineer of the Washington Gas Company in whose possession it has resided until being offered here at Goldin Auctions.

Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $10,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $31,980.00
Number Bids: 9
Auction closed on Sunday, December 8, 2019.
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