Extensive collection of JFK memorabilia hits auction block

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This December 2019, image released by RR Auction shows the first page of a handwritten draft of the 1960 speech by John F. Kennedy announcing his intention to run for president. The draft is among hundreds of items associated with the late president to be auctioned in January 2020, by the Boston-based auction firm. (Nikki Brickett/RR Auction via AP)

BOSTON, MA – One of the most comprehensive private collections of John F. Kennedy memorabilia, one that chronicles his life from childhood to the White House, is for sale.

Hundreds of items associated with the former Democratic president are being offered as a single lot by Boston's RR Auction for a minimum of $1.5 million, although RR Executive Vice President Robert Livingston said it could get much more.

“This collection as a whole tells his life story,” Livingston said, pointing out that Kennedy's diary from the summer of 1945 alone sold at auction for nearly $719,000 in 2017. “It's like a curated museum exhibit in one auction. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."

The collection includes a handwritten draft of Kennedy's 1960 speech announcing his intention to run for president; hundreds of unpublished photos and negatives of Kennedy and his family; watercolors he painted; personal items including a necktie, back brace and golf balls; and even JFK and Jackie Kennedy Halloween masks.

The collection shows Kennedy's intelligence, compassion and sense of humor, said Ronnie Paloger, a retired garment industry sales rep who spent years accumulating the collection.

Paloger was 13 when Kennedy was assassinated, and he said the president's death resonated profoundly in his life.

He's selling now because he's 70.

“I ran out of money," said the Marina del Rey, California, resident who also once owned a massive trove of Muhammad Ali memorabilia. “This is my retirement fund."