How it all began
It all started in the summer of 1977. I was 19 then – that was almost 45 years ago, today I am 64. I am now close to retirement. Most recently, I had worked as an independent real estate agent for 25 years (after I had trained as a publishing clerk) in a small town near Munich, I have two grown-up sons, John Fitzgerald and Benjamin, and a stepdaughter,
Isabel, from my second marriage.
In the summer 1977 I was for the first time on a “big trip” with my uncle – a business trip to the Big Apple in New York. My uncle, then active in the world of advertising , had some business to attend there; thus I had had the great exciting opportunity to explore New York all alone. As luck would have it all of a sudden I found myself in the middle of an enormous flea market at “Canal Street”.... A flea market as large and rich of opportunities as I had never seen before.
At this flea market I discovered a button that first only interested me because of its size and its making. A button of a kind that could not be found in Germany, to pin on or to put somewhere, made and sold for the inauguration day of the then 35th President John F. Kennedy.
This was “my first piece”, purchased for a dollar, awakening my passion for collecting generally – and the interest in that charismatic president in general – and it made me engage in that topic for decades.
My first piece
Other pieces about John F. Kennedy followed, partly also souvenirs from my father he had bought on his business trips, and so the collection and the interest grew. At that time – there was no internet or email – collecting something was much more difficult and time-consuming, but also much more exciting. Contacts in the USA had to be done by letters (!). And the answer, if you received one at all, took several weeks. But the advantage is and was that there is always a small story and a memory connected to these collectibles and devotional objects. During that time I have got to know many collectors from the USA that enriched my collection with beautiful exhibits. And I also had the chance to get to know the Munich custom office and the official views and approaches...
My first "John F. Kennedy-Bureau" 1978
In the first years (1981) there was another trip to the USA – to Boston to the John F. Kennedy Museum and a short trip to Hyannis Port, the then and current ancestral home of the Kennedy family.
Flea markets, trips and ads in collection magazines had been the basis of my collection that comprises some thousand exhibits today, also some very unique pieces.
ZFor no other President and maybe not even any other personality in this world there have been produced and made so many and versatile memorial pieces. Even today this fact shows the fascination – 60 years after his assassination in Dallas – about and for this person and politician John F. Kennedy that had understood how to inspire and impress a whole generation thanks to his charisma, his rethorical abilities, his vision, his sense for justice and peace on earth.
Oil painting from the US consulate in Cologne
This fascination is still inspiring me today after 45 years. And it will also not change due to the fact that some journalists try to scratch that benchmark or dirty it. John F. Kennedy and his actions had been unique in his time. With my collection and its wide range I want to show this uniqueness.
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