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Robert L. White

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I met Robert L. White briefly when he appeared at a local library with some of his enormous Kennedy Collection. A friend of mine at the time and I went to the Museum in St. Petersburg, FL where it was going to be a permanent collection. We went on a holiday and they told us they were closed. We mentioned Kennedy's Exhibit. They said all they had left was the Bay of Pigs. It was supposed to be an experience, where you would walk through the exhibit surrounded by the Kennedy Collection, which ultimately brought you to the Assassination.

Two days later, we heard he died. I wasn't harboring any suspicions about it then. But now my radar has gone up. The obit I have says he died suddenly of a heart attack. He was 54 but didn't look it. The Kennedy family went after his Estate for Kennedy items. They left quite a few things with the Estate. Guernsey Auction was selling the remainder.

One thing they auctioned was a money clip which Jackie gave President Kennedy early in the marriage. It was found in his pocket the day he was assassinated.

Here's the obit:


Robert L. White [Corrected 10/18/03]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The, Oct 16, 2003

Robert L. White, 54 JFK memorabilia collector

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Baltimore -- Robert L. White, whose assemblage of John F. Kennedy memorabilia grew to become one of the largest and most significant private collections of the late president's effects in the world, died of a heart attack Saturday. He was 54.

White was a teenager when he began collecting items related to the 35th president during the 1960s, writing to him to request an autograph. He continued collecting after the assassination in 1963 and was helped by some Kennedy relatives and former cabinet members.

The biggest boost came from Evelyn Lincoln, Kennedy's personal secretary whom White befriended. He became executor of her estate and was willed rare items from her collection after her death in 1995.

White's collection was estimated to be worth $5 million and held about 100,000 items.


Edited by Kathleen Collins
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Here is a more detailed look at Robert L. White's life:


Here's a bit:

Robert L. White (1948-2003)

Collecting is a passion of the curious mind. An individual can be absorbed by the historical, cultural or artistic merit of an object and concurrently relish the hunt and pride of ownership. That was Robert White—the quintessential collector. Although renowned internationally as having the finest private collection of Kennedy memorabilia in the world, Robert”s other collections of Americana were equally impressive. Spanning the 18th – 20th centuries, the categories of his fascinating historic memorabilia include: American wars (Civil War through the Korean War), patriotic, presidential, hotel, autographs and Hollywood memorabilia, to mention a few. This auction is a tribute to those eclectic interests.

At the tender age of eight Robert White plunged into the world of collecting when he sent a letter to Lassie requesting an autograph or a paw print. The book that inspired his first request, Lassie, will be on display during the exhibition along with other personal mementos and a video of Robert's life produced by his younger son Zach. That early request for Lassie’s paw print spawned a non-stop 46-year collecting journey that is partially represented by the property for sale in this auction.

His life's ambition was to display his world-class Kennedy collection in a museum setting and to share it with the public. This dream came to fruition in 1998 when the Florida International Museum in St. Petersburg, mounted an elaborate exhibition of his Kennedy collection that remained on display for five consecutive years. Part of that collection was included in a traveling exhibit.

While in sales until 1994, Robert White’s true occupation was that of collector, co-owner of Federal Hill Autographs and occasional dealer. In constant demand as a speaker and for interviews, he received voluminous media coverage over the years. In 1997, Fox TV honored him as "Collector of the Year."


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