By Daniel Lovering
BOSTON (Reuters) - Nearly 300 items related to U. S. President John F. Kennedy and to Kennedy's assassination, including a lock of the president's hair and Lee Harvey Oswald's wedding ring, were put up for auction in Massachusetts on Thursday.
The sale at the Omni Parker House hotel in Boston, billed as the most extensive auction of Kennedy-related memorabilia this year, comes just weeks before the 50th anniversary of the president's assassination in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963.
Among the items offered for sale was a gold wedding band that belonged to Oswald, Kennedy's assassin, along with a letter written last year by Oswald's widow, said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of RR Auction.
"She tells us she doesn't want the ring in her possession because it connects her to the worst day of her life," he said of Marina Oswald Porter. "She wants nothing to do with Lee Harvey Oswald."
The ring, purchased at a jewelry store in Minsk and left on a night table next to Marina's bed in Irving, Texas, on the day of Kennedy's assassination, was confiscated by the U. S. Secret Service and later returned.
It remained forgotten in a lawyer's files for 49 years and was returned to the family of Marina Oswald Porter last year, Livingston said.
The auction includes other items of Oswald's: a revolver, his U. S. Marine Corps knife, a raincoat, a rifle score book and a chess set.
Among the auction items linked to Kennedy was a lock of his hair collected in July 1963 by his barber and a gold ring given to him by his wife, Jacqueline, according to an auction catalog.
The 18-karat ring, bearing the presidential seal and engraved with "J. B. K. to J. F. K.," was among several engraved items that included a brass shaving kit, cigarette lighters and Kennedy's "well-worn" rosary, Livingston said.
Bidding for the 290 items in the auction, which began online a week ago, was expected to continue until about 5 p.m., with several pieces, including Oswald's wedding ring, expected to fetch six-figure amounts, he said.
(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Kenneth Barry)