Injunction stops rare book expert claiming ownership of Jackie letters

A High Court judge has granted temporary injunctions preventing a rare books expert from representing himself as the owner of letters to an Irish priest written by President John F Kennedy’s wife, Jackie.

Injunction stops rare book expert claiming ownership of Jackie letters

The previously unknown letters between Jackie Kennedy and Fr Joseph Leonard, a Vincentian priest who lived in All Hallows College in Drumcondra, Dublin, were written over a period of 14 years. They are due to go under the hammer by Sheppard’s Irish Auction House in Co Laois on June 10, and are expected to fetch up to €3m.

However, it has been alleged Eoin Felix O’Neill of Cahir, Co Tipperary, may have taken pictures of some of the letters without permission and given them to the Boston Globe newspaper. It has been claimed he may have been behind the publication of some of the letters in the Boston Globe and that the article stated the letters had been bought by Mr O’Neill.

Mr Justice Peter Kelly made additional orders restraining Mr O’Neill publishing any of the letters or any extracts or holding himself out as having the authority to negotiate their sale or publication.

In evidence, Philip Sheppard said his firm became aware of the letters after representatives from All Hallows attended a valuation evening hosted by the firm.

Mr O’Neill, who was present at All Hallows when the existence of the letters was first disclosed to Sheppard’s auctioneers, would be entitled to commission in relation to the sale of the letters, Mr Justice Kelly noted. When he realised they were likely to attract substantial amounts, he became disenchanted with the terms of that commission, the judge added.

The case will come before the court next Monday.

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