Oswald's wooden coffin for sale

Dec. 2, 2010 at 10:50 AM
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FORT WORTH, Texas, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- The deteriorated pine coffin that once held the body of Lee Harvey Oswald has been put up for sale by the Fort Worth mortuary that owns it, officials said.

Oswald was exhumed in 1981 and reburied in another coffin; the auction company selling the coffin and other Oswald memorabilia says it has received a bid of $5,000, CNN reported.

Other items for sale by Nate D. Sanders Auctions of Los Angeles include an Easter card signed by Oswald, an embalming table that held his body, mortuary instruments and the first draft of Oswald's death certificate.

The funeral director who assisted at Oswald's original embalming, Allen Baumgardner, 68, purchased Miller Funeral Home and all its property.

"He felt the time was right to sell," said Laura Yntema, auction manager at Nate D. Sanders. "What strikes me about it is what a simple pine coffin it is." She said the company expects the coffin to go for $70,000 to $100,000.

Oswald's body was exhumed during a legal battle between his widow, Marina, and his brother Robert. There was speculation a Soviet agent was buried in the grave.

Pathologists confirmed the decomposed remains the casket were Oswald's.

The draft death certificate said Oswald died after being fatally shot by "Jack Rubenstein," but that was scratched out because Rubenstein, better known as Jack Ruby, had not yet been tried. A new death certificate was later filed.

Yntema said the death certificate could sell for as much as $20,000.

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