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Artworks by Kennedy and Trump up for auction

Heritage Auctions

One piece of art features a row of tall New York City buildings rising above squiggly green trees and bright-yellow taxi cabs that wind through the streets below. The other shows a collection of homes with slanted roofs packed along a scenic waterfront, with several sailboats bobbing nearby.

Both were created by US presidents and both are for sale to the public.

Texas-based Heritage Auction has put artwork by President Trump and former president John F. Kennedy up for auction in Dallas this week. The respective works of art are part of the company’s Americana & Political auction being held on Dec. 2.


Pre-bidding wars for the items have already erupted online. So far, the Kennedy painting — he created the scene of the houses along the ocean, slightly reminiscent of a Cape Cod getaway — is fetching far more than the sitting president’s own illustration.

The current high bid for Kennedy’s piece, a signed oil and pencil painting on canvas board, still in its original frame, stands at $42,000, with several days left before the live auction. The painting was consigned by Victoria Gifford Kennedy, widow of Robert and Ethel Kennedy’s son, Michael, according to a description on Heritage Auction’s website. It comes with a note written by Ethel Kennedy to her daughter-in-law.

Trump’s drawing, a busy city landscape emblazoned with a bold, golden signature at the bottom, was donated for charity to the St. Francis Food Pantries and Shelters in 2005. The organization holds an annual gala called “Doodles for Hunger,” where actors, artists, and celebrities produce “doodles” to help raise money for a good cause.

Trump’s doodle is expected to bring in roughly $15,000, but as of Monday morning teetered at around $8,500 online.

Tom Slater, the company’s director of Americana Auctions, said there’s a reason why one is garnering a bit more attention than the other: the Kennedy artwork is much more rare, and there’s already an established group of collectors out there who specifically go after items once owned by the Massachusetts native. When new offerings hit the auction block, those buyers tend to pounce.


“There’s a rarity factor. I don’t know how many of these sketches Trump has done, but probably a couple. So there’s probably more of those floating around out there compared to Kennedy’s artworks,” he said. “The Kennedy will bring in more. Of course, there are a lot of people who love Donald Trump.”

Slater said since the weekend, there have been three individuals who have shown interest in the Trump drawing.

“If I had to guess, those bids are coming from guests who are not the usual suspects,” he said.

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.