Lee Harvey Oswald's Wife Auctions Off His Wedding Band

Lee Harvey Oswald's wedding band. Photo courtesy RR Auction.Lee Harvey Oswald’s gold wedding band will be among the historic items in an upcoming auction commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, said RR Auction of New Hampshire this week.

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Marina Oswald Porter commissioned the auction house to sell the ring—which had been caught up in legal red tape for nearly half a century—in order to help further distance herself from what she called “the worst day of my life.”

The ring, expected to fetch up to $50,000 when it goes on the block October 24 in Boston, is “a very highly anticipated auction item,” RR executive vice president Bobby Livingston told Yahoo! Shine. “That day—and that mystery and that controversy—is something that’s a big part of our lives historically. It defined an era. So to have something like this, from the last living major figure from that day, it’s exciting.”

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The letter, from Marina Oswald Porter, that accompanied the ring (pictured with a photo of herself and Lee Harvey …What’s really incredible about the ring, he said, "is that it’s never been offered before." And, he added, “It was a key piece of evidence in the Warren Report on the assassination, as it was used to show the mindset of Lee Harvey Oswald on that morning.”

Oswald, who apparently never took off his wedding ring, did so on that fateful day in 1963, when he left it, along with $170 cash, on a nightstand at a friend's house where his then-estranged wife, 22-year-old Marina, was staying.

“Plus, the ring itself tells a bigger story, as the inside is engraved with a hammer and sickle and a Soviet star,” Livingston said. Oswald, a former U.S. Marine, defected to the Soviet Union before meeting Marina there, at a dance, in 1961. He purchased his 14-karat gold wedding band in Minsk, Belarus, before marrying Marina later that same year.

Livingston, who traveled to Dallas to retrieve the ring from a family representative, said it came with a five-page handwritten letter from Marina, who has been remarried to Kenneth Jess Porter, with whom she has two sons, since 1965.

“This is the only item of Lee’s that has been returned to me, and it took almost 50 years. I’m remarried for many years now, raised my children and have been blessed with grandchildren,” Marina, now 72, wrote in the letter, which the auction house is keeping private, except for a few snippets, at her request. She concluded that, “At this time of my life, I don’t wish to have Lee’s ring in my possession because symbolically I want to let go of my past that is connecting with Nov. 22, 1963.”

Marina Oswald leaving the Warren Commission hearings in 1964. Photo: Getty ImagesThe ring was confiscated by the Secret Service 10 days after the Kennedy's assassination. Then, in 2004, it mysteriously resurfaced at the Fort Worth law firm of Brackett & Ellis, in a file of documents belonging to a retired attorney who had represented Marina in 1963. The lawyer, Forrest Markward, was suffering from Alzheimer’s at the time and didn’t recall how it got there. He died in 2009. But the firm notified Marina about the ring and soon heard from a family lawyer who wanted it returned.

Marina wrote the letter documenting the history of the ring, Livingston explained, because “she felt it was important for people to know,” even if she wants to cut herself off from the item and the day.

“I think she understands she’s a historic figure, but she wants nothing to do with history,” he said. “She’s moved on, but felt it was important to tell the story of the ring for the new owner. I thought [the letter] was beautiful.”

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