JFK memorabilia on auction

The former president’s 1951 passport sold for $US54,000 ($A71,600) while Jacqui Kennedy’s 1953 passport slightly eclipsed that price at $US56,500 ($A74,900).

The passports went under the hammer on the opening day of an auction that offers a glimpse into the daily lives of the Kennedys.

Guernsey’s auction house prepared 1,500 lots including the Omega watch President Kennedy wore at his inauguration.

The watch was auctioned for $US350,000 ($A463,000) to Omega, the company that made it, for its museum.

It was a gift to the then senator from his friend Grant Stockdale before Kennedy won the 1960 presidential election.

Gurnsey’s also auctioned a thank-you letter to Stockdale written by Jacqueline Kennedy, who lauds the Omega as “nicer than the watch I gave him,” and an image from Life Magazine of the 35th president wearing the watch on his Inauguration Day.

Omega is owned by Swatch, based in Biel, Switzerland, where the watch will be displayed.

“I’m just fascinated by the Kennedys. And these prices are reasonable,” said Antonio Lopez, a hospital ward clerk from Brooklyn who paid $US780 ($A1,035) for a framed photograph of the former president speaking on the telephone.

Some of the items in the auction, held at the Park Avenue Armory, belonged to the late Robert White, a Kennedy admirer who became fascinated as a teenager with the then-senator.

White, a cleaning-supplies salesman, began a correspondence with Evelyn Lincoln, Kennedy’s secretary, and they became friends after the president’s 1963 assassination.

When Lincoln died in 1995, she bequeathed a filing cabinet full of presidential items to White, adding to his already substantial collection.

Other items include restaurant bills and a packet of crayons used by young Caroline Kennedy to campaign posters and buttons.

On a page of presidential doodles, the phrase “Blockade Cuba!” is circled.