People put a lot of different things up for auction, such as old gowns, furniture, artwork. But this has to be the most interesting thing that has ever been put up for auction — Winston Churchill’s blood.
Duke’s auction house in Dorchester is auctioning a small vial of Churchill’s blood. Churchill must have really meant it when he said that he had “nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.”
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The wartime prime minister’s blood was collected and kept following an incident in 1962. Churchill had been on vacation in Monte Carlo when the older prime minister took a fall right out of his bed. Churchill ended up fracturing his hip and had to be transported to Middlesex hospital. While there, blood was taken from Mr. Churchill, but the hospital ended up not needing it.
Patricia Fitzgibbon, the nurse who collected the blood from Churchill, “asked to keep it” as it was about to be thrown out by another hospital worker. Fitzgibbon, upon dying, gave the vial of blood to a friend. That friend has decided to put the vial up for auction on the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death, which was in January of 1965.
Timothy Medhurst, an auctioneer at Duke’s, told USA Today, “She decided to sell it on the 50th year anniversary of his death, which is the best time to put it on the market.”
He added that he believes the vial could sell for “up to $900.”
So what specifically could you get for $900? Duke’s spokeswoman, Amy Brenan, told the Washington Post that while “the seven-centimeter vial is still intact, and that the label on the bottle clearly reads ‘Sir Winston S. Churchill,'” the inside of the vial is not as fresh as the day it was taken.
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Brenan stated, “If you think about it, it’s 50 or 60 years old… The blood has shriveled into a small orange blob.”
Despite turning into a blob, Duke’s has stated that “this is the first time that such a personal piece of Churchill’s history” has been up for auction for the public to own.
Would you like to buy this orange blob coming from one of the greatest leaders in our recent history? The vial of Winston Churchill’s blood is up for auction at Duke’s on March 12 “with a declaration from Fitzgibbon about how she got it.”
[Photo Courtesy of Cecil Beaton]