Tag Archives: Walter Sculley

The Crying of Lot 160

An item identified as a Ronald Reagan Blood Vial is presently on offer:

The seller helpfully includes a detailed narrative describing the item’s provenance:

“These articles have actually been in my family’s possession since 03/30/1981, the day that President Reagan was shot in Washington D.C. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, my mother worked for Bio Science Laboratories in Columbia, Maryland. Her laboratory was the laboratory contracted by Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well as the George Washington University Hospital to handle blood testing as well as other types of testing. Her lab did the blood work and testing for President Reagan. The test tube and the lab slip that I have are for his blood work to be tested for lead on [Monday] 03/30/1981. The testing was completed and the test tube was sitting on my mother’s desk. At the end of the week, she asked the director of her laboratory if she could keep the paper work and the test tube. The director of the lab told her no problem and really never gave it a second thought. It has been in my family ever since. My mother passed away back in November last year [2010] and my father passed away in January 2009. Prior to their passing, they knew that it was the only thing that I wanted with regards to their personal property or money that they accumulated over the years.”

Executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation John Heubusch said, “If indeed this story is true, it’s a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase.”

Seeking context for this little smear of Americana, we contacted our old friend Walter Sculley, the well known dealer in corporeal memorabilia. Speaking from his warehouse located somewhere in the Bahamas, he told us that while he did not have specific information about this particular item,  “there is enough Reagan assassination blood on the market to fill a bath tub”. He then commented that the stiff price being offered for a single vial was “hair-raisingly naive not to say bone stupid.” When pressed for an analysis as to who was likely doing the bidding, he said “DNA speculators, hedge funds, private equity, same old same old.”

Fragments of the bullets removed from the President are also “abundant”, according to the bone trader. “If you tried to reconstruct that bullet from the fragments that are floating around the marketplace, you’d have a projectile the size of a watermelon.” He also mentioned that “slivers of the Gipper’s polyp” dating from the 1980s were “more plentiful than splinters from the Old Cross”, while confessing that he has “never understood the Reagan end of the market.”

When asked to respond to the use of the word “craven” to describe such an auction, Sculley delivered the following riposte:

“Craven? What century is that guy living in? What’s ridiculous to me about this whole shebang, I mean Reagan was the great communicator about the unimpeachable virtues of the free market, right? So why not let the market decide what’s craven, and in any event, in case the guy at the foundation hasn’t noticed, craven sells, and sometimes craven sells in a super large way. Just ask what’s his name, that Facebook guy, he knows all about craven. I learned a thousand years ago, you can’t get all hot and bothered or queasy about what’s out there. Listen to the market, it will tell you who we are, not the other way around. With all due respect, Reagan would be spinning in his grave at the idea of lawyers getting involved in the sale of one measly little vial of dried blood.”


Cronus With His Sickle

It appears that the vain quest for perpetual youth and immortality now includes the ingestion of a powder made from human babies. While contemplating the philosophical implications of such “health food”, we remembered a conversation many years ago with the famous purveyor of corporeal memorabilia Walter Sculley, and in particular his complaints (which seemed outrageous at the time) that so much quality material disappears from the memorabilia market straight into the digestive tracts of wealthy elders hankering for the vitality and priapic potency of days long gone.

Searching for some glimmer of illumination within the shadowlands of such a perverse scenario, we arranged a brief conversation with Mr. Sculley, who agreed to speak with us from an undisclosed location:

DP     A number of years ago, you complained in an interview about the impact of so-called specialty medicines on the corporeal memorabilia market. Now we hear news from South Korea about thousands of pills allegedly manufactured in China from pulverized fetuses and babies.

WS     Yes, well everyone knows about the rhino horns and the panda livers and what not, and the same thing has been going on with human materials for as along as I’ve been in the business, more years than I care to remember.

DP     Specific examples?

WS     OK, just last year, a perfectly good clump of Marilyn Monroe hair was floating around the wholesale market. I was doing my due diligence preparing a bid, then some nut job nobody ever heard of bought the clump, mixed it up with high fructose corn syrup, gelatin and other glop and then he churns up these batches of edible lozenges, sold them as Marilyn Love Drops or whatever. Well, maybe he was not such a nut job after all, because they sold for over a thousand a pop, and he made probably a few hundred of them, so that’s a hefty profit on a single clump of hair, no way he gets that kind of moolah from a legit collector.

DP     You sound upset about it….

WS     Yeah well the thing is, once you do that, it’s gone from the market for good, you can’t really pick it up again at the other end, if you know what I mean, so in terms of  market value, you have to consider that hair fully flushed. Now that’s a quality item, you could build a whole collection around a primo item like that. Very sad.

DP     So who are the buyers for this sort of thing, such as the Marilyn Love Drops?

WS     For the Monroe hair candy it’s men, maybe a few women, I mean I don’t have the invoices so I’m speculating here but I’m thinking it’s mostly men who want that little taste of intimate contact with her, and this is the only option that’s left until they cook up some sort of genetic resurrection, and rent her out by the night. You know, guys who wanted a tiny little suckle, and this little gum drop is as close as they’re ever gonna get. Other items, they’re looking for a little more punch in the pajamas, OK, and those little blue pills aren’t doing the job anymore, so they’ll pay a fortune for a JFK toenail or whatever, and chew on that for a while, and think they’re off to the races. Most of the time, it’s all in their heads, and the sad thing is if they would just whack a tennis ball around now and then, they might have the same effect but somehow they think, yeah, that JFK toenail, that’ll do the trick quite nicely, thank you very much.

DP     But it’s all in their heads.

WS     Yep. It’s like the relic is a trigger for the imagination, and the act of chewing pulls the trigger, then blam! they’re off to the races on a painted pony.

DP     In terms of long term trends, are you seeing more of this sort of ingestion of items that would normally be bought and sold as collectibles?

WS     Oh definitely. If not for performance pills, then for DNA speculation.

DP     What, you mean harvesting items just for the DNA?

WS     Yeah, that’s something that’s really spinning out of control. I mean there are even a few hedge funds set up, all chasing the same asset, celebrity DNA, so that the raw material is banked and ready, waiting for the science to catch up. Once that happens, presto chango, you pay the piper and you can have a baby Elvis or a baby God help us Kim Kardashian, or whoever you want.

DP     What’s your reaction to all that?

WS     It’s really depressing. I’m just glad I’m coming to the end of my career, because in a few years the memorabilia market will be ding dong kaput. I get contacted by young people wanting to intern here at the warehouse, learn the business, and I tell them forget about it, no future in the bone trade, poof.

DP     Any comment specifically about the pills filled with pulverized Chinese infants and fetuses?

WS     Horrific. I mean, what else can I say? I’ll tell you this, though – it looks like an extreme case and it turns my stomach, but let me ask you, isn’t it just a sign of the times everywhere?

DP     I’m not sure I understand.

WS     OK, as you know, I left the USA years ago because I just got fed up with the whole stinking enchilada, but I still consider myself a patriot. Shoot, I named my own private collection “Bones of the Founding Fathers”, so you can see where I’m coming from. Isn’t eating babies pretty much what we’re doing in terms of all the debt, spending the future? Sending young people off to ridiculous wars while the old codgers flip through the pages of their portfolios, same deal there, too. Might as well eat them when they’re born, get it over with from the get go.

DP     Those are harsh words…

WS     Harsh? I don’t think so. I mean, think of those kids who got pepper sprayed,  splashed full in the face, coated with the stuff. I saw that and I remember thinking damn, won’t be long before the fat cats get to slicing up those kids for pepper pot soup, and that’s no joke. So before anyone gets bent out of shape talking about the barbarian Chinese and all, I recommend taking a long hard look in the mirror.