the sale of letters written by Jackie Kennedy to an Irish priest in the 1950s and 1960s has been called off following a dispute over ownership.
The letters - expected to reach up to €3m at auction - were withdrawn just days before the auction.
Sheppard’s Irish Auction House in Durrow, Co Laois, were preparing to sell the letters and related memorabilia at an auction on June 10.
But now representatives of the Kennedy family claim they own the copyright and that this would be infringed if the sale went ahead.
Meanwhile, the Vincentian Fathers religious order has asserted its ownership of the letters.
Fr Joseph Leonard, who had a lengthy correspondence with the former First Lady (inset)up to his death in 1964, was a member of the Vincentian Fathers.
The 33 letters, written by the wife of US president John F Kennedy before their marriage and after his assassination, were to be sold by All Hallows College in Dublin, where Fr Leonard lived.
A statement from All Hallows yesterday said the letters were “being withdrawn from auction” at the direction of the college and the Vincentian Fathers.
“Representatives of All Hallows College and the Vincentian Fathers are now exploring with members of Mrs Kennedy’s family how best to preserve and curate this archive for the future,” the statement added,
One possible outcome is that the letters will be donated to the Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston.
It is understood that Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving child of John and Jackie Kennedy, has asked representatives to keep her briefed on the situation.
The scuppering of the auction is likely to have serious ramifications for All Hallows, which has been seeking to raise funds for the college.