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Missing life-size JFK statue, carved in York County, Pa., turns up on eBay

The whereabouts of this York County, Pa.-made statue has been unknown locally for years. But it recently became public, on eBay of all places. (See photo of the artist and statue below.) Background posts: Wago Club prez: ‘You’ve gotta respect the (snapping) turtles’ and Church’s landmark: ‘A man named Beech carving a beech tree, it seemed too perfect’ and Why did JFK lose to Nixon in York County?.

The Craigslist ad read like this:

“Life-size basswood statue of John F. Kennedy, carved by local woodcarver Walter S. Langhine. Included with the statue are letters to and from Jacqueline Kennedy. Email to above address or phone calls accepted at 717-793-0650 or 717-235-2543. Best offer.”

Langhine’s hand-carved statue of JFK had been missing in plain view for years. Most recently, it has been in the JFK memorabilia collector Clyde Smith’s New Freedom basement, York Daily Record /Sunday News columnist Mike Argento discovered. Smith is moving to smaller quarters, Argento wrote, so JFK has to go. And hence the ad… . langhineWalter S. Langhine with his sculpture of JFK.



The York Sunday News reported in 1963 that Langhine hoped his work would end up in Martin Library or some other public place. So, some York County collector should make it so. Bid on the piece and keep it local, standing tall in size 9 1/2 shoes (those dimensions courtesy of Jackie.) Some people still put JFK on the pedestal. Langhine did so, literally, and a carved one to boot. Here’s how Argento’s column (5/12/09) began:

For years, the whereabouts of Walter S. Langhine’s sculpture of John F. Kennedy had been a mystery. It was like Dashiell Hammett’s iconic Maltese Falcon, long sought after and believed to be priceless, or at last worth a lot of cash. The York Sunday News did a story about it years ago. In it, Langhine, now deceased, said he was selling the statue to raise money for charity. He hinted that it might find its way to Martin Library or some other public space where it could be admired. Then, the statue seemingly disappeared. People knew it was out there somewhere. Some had even claimed to have seen it. But nobody seemed to know where it was. We know now, and it didn’t take Sam Spade to unravel the mystery. All it took was Google and Craigslist… .

To read Argento’s full column, click here.