That’s a stark contrast to the auction market, where buyers snap up anything relating to the former first lady, from her letters to her underwear.
John Reznikoff, a Connecticut-based dealer who has sold many Kennedy-related items, including the white Lincoln the Kennedys rode in in Dallas, estimated that the notes Mr. Wells donated might have fetched as much as $75,000.
“It’s a really sexy document,” he said. “It has everything: her poise, her planning, her status as a fashion icon and, of course, the dark side.”
Mr. Wells, 54, who died unexpectedly in May following a medical procedure, was no stranger to Mrs. Kennedy’s mystique or its market value. When this reporter visited him at home, he pointed out a plate with an American eagle motif hanging on the wall — one of two he claimed to have bought at the blockbuster estate sale Mrs. Kennedy’s children held at Sotheby’s after her death in 1994.
Mr. Wells, who worked as a caterer, and his sister sat at a table with their godmother, Shirley Ann Conover, and a housemate, mixing their own family stories with knowing gossip about various Kennedys. After the document surfaced, they recalled, they had tucked it inside a book about the former first lady for safekeeping.
“I’ve always been fascinated by her,” Mr. Wells said.
Just how Ms. Conover, a former employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs, came to have the notes is unclear. During the visit, she offered fragmented memories of her childhood in an orphanage in Washington and of her old apartment near the Russian Embassy, where she lived until moving in with Mr. Wells.