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Jack Ruby’s Gun Sold For $220,000

December 27, 1991 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ The gun Jack Ruby used to kill Lee Harvey Oswald was auctioned Thursday night for $220,000.

Bidding for the gun, with the police evidence tag still attached, started at $100,000 and quickly escalated.

The buyer was a New Jersey gun collector who wished to remain anonymous.

Ruby’s brother Earl, a Detroit businessman who got control of Ruby’s estate in August after a long court fight, intends using $80,000 of the proceeds to pay Ruby’s income tax bill, said the auctioneer, Herman Darvick.

″I feel great,″ Earl Ruby said after the sale. ″I don’t feel too good about having to get rid of the gun but I’m glad the bills will be paid.″

Ruby shot Oswald to death with the .38-caliber Colt Cobra revolver in the basement of Dallas City Jail on Nov. 24, 1963, two days after President Kennedy was assassinated. Oswald was accused of the killing.

The sale came amid controversy over Oliver Stone’s new film ″JFK,″ which suggests a government conspiracy behind the assassination of Kennedy. Some film critics accused Stone of rewriting history.

″It has to be the most valuable gun in private hands. People saw this live on television,″ Darvick said in October, when Earl Ruby disclosed plans to auction the weapon.

Darvick had expected the gun to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000.

The buyer didn’t attend the auction, sending another man, Frank Roman, instead to place the bids.

″I’m purchasing it for a gun collector,″ Roman said. Asked what the buyer would do with the gun, he said: ″I guess he’s going to put it away.″

Ruby was convicted of murdering Oswald, but the conviction was overturned and he died in jail in 1967 while awaiting a second trial. The gun stayed in a Dallas safe deposit box while Ruby’s brother battled Ruby’s former lawyer for control of the estate.

New York gun dealer Anthony Jovino said an ordinary model of the gun, which is no longer made, would sell for about $550 unused or $300 if used and in good condition. Ruby bought his gun for $62.50 at a Dallas gun shop.

Also on the block at the auction at Omni Park Central Hotel were mobster Bugsy Siegel’s passport, sketches by singer Enrico Caruso, a musical manuscript by Fats Waller and a 1966 letter by Martin Luther King in which he said he preferred the term ″dark skinned American″ to identify blacks.