After about a week of working to set up the sale on Lake Minnetonka, the Esquire Estate Sales team had gained a great rapport with our client. At the end of day six, he called me into his office and said, “I’ve been waiting to see how you all work and understand your level of diligence. I wanted to see if I could trust you all before I decided to put a particular item in the estate sale”.
Earlier in the week, he had unveiled JFK’s signed oath of office. Now, there was something else that was more grand? The answer was “yes”. This item was even more spectacular than the signed Oath of Office document.
According to our client, it was the 18K gold signet ring with the Presidential Seal that Jackie had commissioned at Tiffany’s for JFK’s 45th Birthday.
He pulls it out from his safe and shows it to me. Not knowing what to do or say, the following words came out of my mouth. ”I want to put it on.” At that moment, I had completely lost my professionalism and became like a 13-year old seeing his first Playboy centerfold for the first time.
Trying to compose myself, I said, “how did you acquire this item”? He responded by saying, “put it on”. I grabbed the Tiffany blue box with my left hand and guided my right towards the ring. I remember grabbing a hold of it as if it were a delicate Fabrege egg. For heaven’s sake, I thought, it’s a gold ring. Grab it! So, I did and admired the precision of the engraving of the Presidential Seal. Actually, Tiffany’s didn’t take a plain gold signet ring and engrave the Seal into it. Instead, they would have created a carved mold into which the gold was poured. Only this would allow a final result that was so fine and detailed. Once the ring had been crafted, it could then be engraved on the back with whatever one wants and when I turned it over, something struck me.
When I think of JFK and Jackie, I think that everything that they did, saw and felt must be so much grander in scale than anything I could ever imagine. When our client told me that there was an inscription on the back, I though surely that Jackie had written something in French or maybe even Latin……you know, something that Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy would have had inscribed.
Instead, when I flipped the ring over, I was immediately reminded of the valentine that I once gave to my 7th grade girlfiriend, Deborah Lynn Yancey. On that valentine I wrote “DLY love GCH” (for George Cooper Hipp) and it was that same simple structure that I found on the back of the ring: JFK love JBK.
At the end of the day, JFK and Jackie were still two people that would have had their first date. There was the first time they held hands, kissed and, yes, made love. We forget that they were two people that had fallen in love and that it didn’t take a fancy French or Latin phrase to remind another of those sweet and innocent times.
When I was finished gawking at the ring, I tried to put it on my ring finger. It was too big. Then came my middle finger. Too big again. Finally, I put it on my thumb and it was a perfect fit. Now, I don’t have small fingers and this ring would only fit on my thumb. Could this be a clue as to why JFK bagged so many gorgeous women? After all, you know what they say about men with big hands?