Valued at an estimated $1 million, the gold Rolex given to President Dwight D. Eisenhower for his heroic role in the planning of the D-Day invasion is being auctioned for the first time in its history.
The wristwatch is among items from the Raleigh DeGeer Amyx collection that will be offered during a live auction event to be held later this year by Boston, MA-based auction house RR Auction.
The 18-carat timepiece, the firm's 150,000th, was presented to the five-star general in 1951 for his service in the Second World War, after the 100,000th was given to Winston Churchill.
He wore it regularly throughout his two-term presidency and in official portraits including on the cover of Life magazine in 1952.
When Eisenhower died in 1969, he bequeathed it to a faithful Army colleague, who had followed him all the way to the White House. Sgt. John Moaney had served alongside the future president in Europe and became one of his closest allies, serving as his personal valet—and was considered one of his closest friends, following him in his later years to his farm in Gettysburg, PA.
About 30 years ago, the Raleigh DeGeer Amyx’s Collection acquired the historical piece from Sgt. Moaney's widow, Delores Moaney, who served as the personal cook for Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower from their time at the White House through the end of their lives; she and her husband, John Moaney, were so close to the family that they lived at the Eisenhowers' private residence in Gettysburg with Ike and Mamie during all post-presidential years.
As a young man, Raleigh DeGeer Amyx developed an avid interest in history and politics led him to employment with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1957, at first serving as a messenger to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, while also attending night school at American University. It was in this FBI position that he began to come into contact with the news-makers themselves—Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and a young senator named John F. Kennedy were among his personal encounters.
It was these important brushes with greatness while in Washington that inspired his realization that there were hundreds—if not thousands—of firsthand witnesses to history milling about nation's capital, each with their own fragment of history.
Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, possessing a major background in American history, made it his quest to become acquainted with these folks—Mr. Amyx met the valets, housekeepers, cooks, secretaries, butlers, Secret Service agents, groundskeepers, upholsterers, and other career up-stairs assistants who had served presidents, many of whom worked at the White House for decades. Through these close personal connections, Mr. Amyx assembled the story of America, piece by piece, a project that took decades of diligence and continual contact with key career assistants.
Among other Museum quality pieces to be featured in the live auction event:
President Eisenhower's World War II brown leather flight jacket — which features four-star epaulettes on the shoulders.
President Roosevelt’s personally-owned and -worn top hat, worn for his first presidential inauguration on March 4, 1933.
President Roosevelt’s remarkable personally-owned and -worn blue-black cape custom made of the highest quality manufacture and material by Lewis & Thos. Saltz of Washington, constructed of a fine heavyweight wool with a satin lining and velvet-trimmed collar.
FDR’s personally-owned and -used walnut cane with a white bone handle and tip.
All items are part of the internationally renowned collection of Raleigh DeGeer Amyx, and will be included in a live auction event to be held in Boston, MA on September 2014.Add a comment