South O’ the Highway

Handbag Purchased by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Selling for £3,000

The Hamptons native bought this Birkin-like bag for her nanny Maud Shaw.

Hamptons native Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis née Bouvier will forever remain one of East Hampton’s most illustrious residents. Before the compound at Hyannis Port or the cruises to Skorpios, the former first lady divided her summers here between the Maidstone Club and her grandparents’ estate, Lasata. Later, the respective summer homes of President Kennedy and Kennedy Onassis’s second husband meant that she returned to the Hamptons sparingly in her adulthood.

One rare occasion was to visit her cousins Edith “Big Edie” Ewing Bouvier Beale, and Big Edie’s daughter Edith “Little Edie” Bouvier Beale at their now infamous home, Grey Gardens. Their decrepit and animal-infested property was beginning to make headlines, especially given their relation to the newly-married widow. In an effort to restore her family’s good name, at least that was the idea, Kennedy Onassis once convinced her new husband, Aristotle Onassis, to donate $32,000 toward the removal of raccoons, feral cats and garbage from the once luxurious Grey Gardens.

Twenty five years after her death, and many auctions and sales featuring ephemera from Kennedy Onassis’s life, another piece of her legacy is available for £3,000. This time, it’s a purse Kennedy Onassis bought for her nanny Maud Shaw, who was with the family for eight years, spanning the Kennedy presidency and assassination. According to seller Paul Fraser Collectibles, it’s alleged that Shaw was the one to first tell Kennedy’s children of their father’s death.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis purchased this hand bag for her nanny Maud Shaw
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis purchased this handbag for her nanny Maud Shaw, Photo: Paul Frazier Collectibles, paulfrasercollectibles.com

While the purse was not owned by the icon herself, it’s evident from the styling that Kennedy Onassis was the one to select it. The clean lines and simple luxury a dead giveaway. The bag is made of black leather with red lining and two interior pockets, its shape reminiscent of the coveted Hermés Birkin.

Items that once belonged to Kennedy Onassis herself have previously fetched extremely high bids. Two years after her death from non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, the engagement ring from her second marriage sold for nearly $3 million. More recently her Cartier Tank timepiece and a pair of Mancini shoes have earned $379,500 and $30,819, respectively. While this bag is exquisite, the fact that it was owned by Shaw and simply purchased by Kennedy Onassis could make it a bargain.

Visit paulfrasercollectibles.com.

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