An infamous photograph taken during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is about to go up for auction.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the snapshot -- taken by Mary Ann Moorman Krahmer -- captures the exact moment that JFK clutched his throat, one-sixth of a second after first being shot by Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.
The photo will go up for auction at Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati on Nov.15, one week before the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination. It is expected to fetch between $50,000 to $75,000.
Krahmer tried to have the photo auctioned this summer through Sotheby’s in New York, but the Kennedy family has an existing relationship with that auction house, and blocked any potential sale. Officials at Sotheby’s said the photo was “too sensitive to auction,” the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
"How do you edit American history?" Wes Cowan, owner of Cowan’s Auctions, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "This photograph has to be one of the most iconic photos of one of the most investigated moments of the 20th century."
When a 31-year-old Mary Ann Moorman arrived in downtown Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963, she had no idea she was about to play a role in one of the most historic events of the 20th century. A plumber’s wife, Moorman and her friend, Jean Hill, parked their car one block from Dealey Plaza, hoping to catch a glimpse of JFK and his wife Jackie, the Cincinnati Enquirer said.
Moorman wore a blue raincoat that day, while her friend Jean Hill wore a red raincoat. They can both be seen clearly in the Zapruder film, a 26.6 second 8 mm film which captured the assassination. Abraham Zapruder stood across from Moorman and Hill on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza when he shot the film.
Moorman took a few photos to pass the time, as she and Hill awaited the arrival of the presidential motorcade. Eventually, the moment of truth arrived.
When JFK’s limousine approached, Hill yelled out "Mr. President! Look this way!"
As Moorman snapped the photo with her Polaroid camera, she heard "a pow! A pause. Then two shots, 'pow! pow!' in rapid succession," she said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. She had inadvertently captured the first bullet to hit JFK.
"We were so close to the car, 10 to 12 feet away," she said. "I heard Jackie yell: 'My God! He's been shot!' "
As the second bullet struck JFK, Moorman thought she saw "his hair raising," but she realized "that was not just his hair. That was part of his head."
When word of the photo spread in the aftermath of the assassination, government officials questioned Moorman for six hours before allowing her to return home. Hours later, government agents knocked on her door and asked for the photograph, the Cincinnati Enquirer said.
When the photo was returned to her a few weeks later, there was “a big thumbprint on it,” Moorman said.
The House Select Committee on Assassinations subpoenaed the photograph when they conducted their investigation into the JFK assassination in 1977. Moorman said she had to hire a lawyer to get it back.
Moorman eventually put the photo in a safety deposit box and moved on with her life. Now 81-years-old and living in Gainesville, Texas, she’s finally decided to part with the photograph that captures one of the most significant events of the 20th century, saying she has her memories and doesn’t need the photo.
"It's just as vivid as if it happened yesterday," she said, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.