DALLAS — His single gunshot added to the conspiracies that swirl, even these 58 years after the assassination of President John. F. Kennedy. Now, the fingerprints on that .38 snub nose revolver are up for auction.
One day after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald was led out of Dallas police headquarters. Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby, in the crowd of reporters, lunged forward and fired a single fatal shot into Oswald's abdomen. Charged the next day with "murder with malice," Ruby was fingerprinted and jailed.
"We see a lot of JFK items," said Mike Provenzale, of Heritage Auctions, which now has a Dallas County sheriff's fingerprint card up for auction. But this one is "incredibly interesting," Provenzale said.
"Incredibly unique item," he added. "One of the most fascinating that we've seen that's tied to JFK and the assassination."
The card has the typed name of Jack Leon Ruby, his signature, and his fingerprints, recorded Nov. 25, 1963. The FBI-styled card lists the contributing agency as "Sheriff's Office, Dallas, Texas."
Provenzale said the opening bid for the fingerprint card will be $10,000, although they expect it to fetch much more - possibly up to $40,000.
"But where that final number will be, we'll find out on February 26th," he said.
The archivist for the City of Dallas, who said a few other Jack Ruby fingerprint cards are already in the city's possession, questioned whether this fingerprint card should be available for private collection.
But Heritage Auctions has a letter from the late James Cron, the former sheriff's deputy who kept it, saying he had permission to save items like this from destruction when they were being computerized instead.
John Slate, the City of Dallas Archivist, clarified to WFAA that the fingerprint card "isn't a city document, so the city does not have a vested interest." But that "JFK-related records owned by the city of Dallas are public documents and cannot be sold or transferred out of the municipal archives. Dallas city code prohibits the sale or transfer of public records."
But, the fingerprint card was originally the property of the Dallas County sheriff's office, not the city of Dallas, leaving "no concerns" of Heritage Auctions' ability to put the card up for bid, according to Provenzale.
He said they have fully vetted the sale and that it has been sold at auction before.
"I'm sure there are several museums and institutions in Dallas who would like to have it, but they'll have to bid like everybody else."
Information on the Heritage Auction item and bidding can be found here.