Tag Archives: John Reznikoff

For Sale In Westport: JFK’s DNA

John Reznikoff has sold George Washington’s hair. He’s auctioned artifacts from Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon Bonaparte and Albert Einstein.

Now up for grabs: a piece of leather from the limousine President Kennedy was riding in when he was killed.

But not just any leather. This one has blood stains — JFK’s actual DNA, Reznikoff says.

He should know. As founder and president of University Archives — the Richmondville Avenue auction house specializing in historical relics and documents — he’s one of the world’s foremost authenticators of this stuff.

Reznikoff’s clients include the U. S. Justice Department, FBI, state law enforcement, and the largest rare book dealers in the world.

So when he says this swatch of leather is the real deal: Believe him.

Of course, you’re not exactly buying the entire seat.

Reznikoff said he bought a small bit of the leather years ago. He cut it into even smaller pieces — less than an inch square.

Most have already been sold. Now he’s putting one more up for bid.

President Kennedy, his wife Jackie and Texas Governor John Connolly, moments before the assassination.

“Any blood relic, by its nature, some people are a little squeamish about it,” Reznikoff told NBC5DFW.com, the TV station and website in Dallas — the city where Kennedy was assassinated.

“Unfortunately, part of our history isn’t necessarily so rosy. There’s a lot of violence in the history of America, and every country for that matter.”

Though this auction is for just a tiny piece of leather, it’s not Reznikoff’s first foray into JFK’s blood-stained death.

In 2003, he sold the white Lincoln Continental convertible that the president rode in the morning of November 22, 1963. The trip was from his Fort Worth hotel, to the airport for Dallas.

It was the last car he got out of alive.

(For the full NBC5DFW story, click here. Hat tips: Bart Shuldman and William Strittmatter.)

This Westport Life

If you’ve ever listened to “This American Life” — the quirky, insightful, thought-provoking, loosely themed hour-long radio show/podcast/cult classic that explores the oddest corners of human nature — you’ve no doubt wondered:  “Who are these people?  Where do they come from?”

For 2 consecutive weeks this month, this answer was:  Westport.

First up was a story by writer Rosie Schaap.  According to Westport Patch, in 1986 — at age 15 — she got on Metro-North in Westport and “discovered the bar car.”  It was “a dingy, crowded, badly ventilated chamber where commuters drank enough to get a decent buzz going, told dirty jokes and chain smoked.”

They were, Rosie says, “my kind of people.”

She quickly learned to read tarot cards for riders.  In exchange, they bought her beers.  It was a great life, until one day…

Marilyn Monroe

Just a week later, This American Life told the tale of John Reznikoff.  The owner of Westport-based University Archives — a buyer and seller of rare documents, manuscripts and Barack Obama’s old Jeep Grand Cherokee —  stumbled across documents linking 3 American icons:  President Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe and the mob.  The story took an interesting turn when the material turned out to be forged — by Reznikoff’s best friend.

(In that weird, 6-degrees way of the world, back in the day Marilyn Monroe was one of Westport’s most famous summer residents.)

A half century ago, Rod Serling produced amazing stories for TV’s  “Twilight Zone”  — some of which were written in, or described, the Westport where he lived.

Today Ira Glass presents a different, but equally compelling, series of tales on radio.  For 2 straight weeks, they’ve had a Westport connection.

DEE-DEE dee-dee DEE-DEE dee-dee…

(To hear Rosie Schaap’s story on This American Life, click here.  For John Reznikoff’s episode, click here.