The Man Behind Many JFK Collectibles
By Harvey Goldberg
Did you ever wonder where all of these campaign items came from? The obvious answer would be that many of them came from campaign headquarters or events. But that isn’t the question here. Who produced—manufactured—them? But even more significant, who came up with the ideas—who designed them? We found one answer. Actually a number of answers to that question.
Frank Allen Orofino (1910-2000) (known as "Frank Allen" professionally) was Chairman of the Board of Allen Dental-Medical Development Corp. in New York, a family friend, and an important public relations volunteer for John F. Kennedy's 1960 Presidential Campaign. He designed and produced countless P.T. Boat tie clips, campaign buttons, Kennedy sponges, posters, and even bottles of Jacqueline Kennedy perfume to help gain the attention of voters. Other eye-catching items he designed to promote the Kennedy candidacy were campaign hats, bumper stickers, pens, pencils, and jewelry items, among many other things. Frank Allen is pictured above in this 1959 photo. The Board of Director’s Room at his company was renamed the “Kennedy Room”, where he displayed one of each of the items he personally created for JFK’s presidential campaign.
Among the campaign buttons he created were what we often call “The Big Four”, along with the various filigree sterling silver pens for Senators JFK, RFK, EMK, and also for Jacqueline Kennedy. Unfortunately we could not enhance this photo to see each individual item. Having all these items would be a collector’s dream. Frank Allen created a scrapbook in 1968 with the title “ The Legend of John Fitzgerald Kennedy”, which included 115 original – and many unpublished - photos of the Kennedys and associates [some of which you can see it the back of the table in the photo above], along with photocopies of acknowledgement letters from Kennedy family members and associates, including Frank Sinatra and Queen Elizabeth II among others.
Also included in his scrapbook were (copies of) mass cards for both JFK and RFK, and more. In all he created 51 copies of this scrapbook and to date, only one copy has been traced at auction and only one other preserved in a library. The copy, that had been presented to Mary Gallagher, Jackie’s private secretary, came up for auction recently and sold for $840.00 One final point—Allen claimed that the image on the “I’m Gone for John” button (below) was one of JFK’s favorite pictures. “The Big Four” - 3-1/2” Cellos. The ‘I’m Gone for John’ photo was taken by Frank Allen. The other three photos were taken by White House photographer Jacques Lowe.Above: Frank Allen’s Sterling Silver Kennedy Pen Set:Senators JFK, RFK, EMK + JFK Presidential Pen. He also made a turquoise & silver matching pair for JFK and Jackie for the Inauguration. Allen also designed the PT-109 tie clasps & pins that were manufactured by the Balfour Company in Attleboro, Mass.4-
Harvey Goldberg, the author of this story, is the Director and Editor of the Hyannisporter the official Newsletter of the Kennedy Political Collectors Organization, the premier Kenedy collectors organization in the world.
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