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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Westporter Buys Obama’s Jeep for Eight Times Its Worth

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By James Lomuscio

The Jeep is black, 10 years old, has a tear in the front seat and smells like stale cigarette smoke. The Kelley Blue Book value is between $3,000 and $3, Image
The Obama Jeep: smells like stale cigarette smoke. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

But there’s a catch to this black Grand Cherokee, the provenance of which shows it first rolled out of a Chrysler dealership in Chicago —it used to belong to Barack Obama.

That piqued the passion of Westport business owner John Reznikoff for one-of-a-kind collectibles to the point where he outbid everyone else who vied for the Jeep to the tune of $26,437.50 at Robert Edward Auctions in New Jersey.

“I paid eight times the Kelley Blue Book value for it, and the question is, ‘What is it really valued at?’ ” said Reznikoff, owner of University Archives at 49 Richmondville Ave. 

“I don’t think you have to use too much imagination to realize that this is almost an iconic relic related to someone who came from humble beginnings. It wasn’t a Rolls Royce.

“This belonged to someone who went on to become the first African-American President of the United States,” he added. “I feel qualified to opine, and I think it is worth well into the six figure realm.”

This is not the first piece of presidential memorabilia that Reznikoff has amassed in his local curiosity shop that deals in myriad, eclectic collectibles from stamps to coins, to, well, strands of famous people’s hair, including individual strands of Abraham’s Lincoln’s locks that fetch several thousand dollars each.

Reznikoff also has George Washington’s wine glass and a fragment of his coat, John F. Kennedy’s rocking chair, as well as Ronald Reagan’s rocking chair and the Gipper’s signature cowboy hat.

The other presidential car in Reznikoff’s possession is the 1963 Lincoln Continental convertible that John F. Kennedy rode in while in Dallas the day he was assassinated.

It was not the actual car Kennedy was in at the time he was shot, but one he rode in before he switched cars to go on that fatal parade route. In 2003, Reznikoff put the car on the auction block for $1.3 million. 

“It came close, but not quite the asking price,” Reznikoff said. “I’ll put it up for the 50th anniversary of the assassination in 2013, right about the time my kids will be going to college.”

Posted 05/12 at 06:32 PM 

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