To cut deficit, Red Cross sells treasures amassed over decades





WASHINGTON — Rose Percy has a long history with the American Red Cross. Complete with an extensive wardrobe and her own Tiffany jewelry, this 23-inch wax doll was first sold for $1,200 back in 1864 to benefit the U.S. Sanitary Commission — the precursor to one of best-known U.S. charities.

Now, Rose Percy, is on the auction block again.

On Tuesday, Percy will be sold in one of the first rounds of an extensive sale of treasures the American Red Cross has amassed over the decades. The current bid online: $5,000. The Red Cross also is selling a rare four-faced Cartier clock lamp, nurse uniforms from World War I and what could be the last Civil War-era flag of the forerunner U.S. Sanitary Commission.

"There's an opportunity for people to purchase a part of the Red Cross history and at the same time contribute to our humanitarian mission," said Red Cross spokesman Roger Lowe. At a time when many companies are cutting back on such vast archival collections, 128-year-old charity, he said, is asking itself, "Do I really need all of this?"

For the past two years, the charity whose core mission is disaster relief has been working feverishly to erase a $209 million operating deficit — a shortfall that now stands at $33.5 million. The national headquarters laid off a third of its 3,000 employees last year and made a rare appeal to Congress for help that produced a one-time, $100-million infusion. But the cost-cutting isn't over.


comments powered by Disqus