January 16, 2021 Sports, Rock & Roll and Americana Auction
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/16/2021

Click play at right to see Los Angeles Police Officer Tony Stolle discuss receiving Senator Kennedy's Hospital Patient ID Wristband.

Offered is a significant historical relic from one of the darkest days in American History--the hospital patient ID wristband of Senator Robert F. Kennedy from June 5, 1968, the day of his assassination. The wristband was acquired by a Los Angeles Police Officer that day, and it has remained n his family for more than 50 years.

In the early morning hours of June 5, 1968, Senator Kennedy was addressing packed ballroom of supporters at Los Angele's Ambassador Hotel. He had just won the California Democratic Primary, and he congratulated the crowd for all their hard work and exclaimed, "My thanks to all of you, and now it's on to Chicago and let's win this thing!" In an effort to move him quickly out of the ballroom, his security detail arranged to have him exit through the hotel's kitchen, just off stage. As he passed through the kitchen, waiting assassin Sirhan Sirhan fired several shots at close range, mortally wounding Kennedy. Sirhan was an anit-Zionist Palestinian Arab who was obsessed with killing Robert Kennedy because of his support for Israel.

Senator Kennedy was first taken to Central Receiving Hospital, but when the doctors there recognized the seriousness of his injuries, they arranged to have him transferred to Hospital of the Good Samaritan, which was only a few blocks away. LA Policer Officer Tony Stolle arrived in response to the call about shots fired, and traveled with Senator Kennedy when he was transferred to the second hospital. Because of the nature of Senator Kennedy's injury, Central Receiving Hospital's Dr. Albert Holt called the senior surgeon at Good Samaritan, Dr. Henry Cuneo, to arrange transfer. Since Dr. Holt was uncertain whether the other bullet wounds in Kennedy’s back had done damage to his heart or other organs, he also called Dr. Bert Meyers, the chief of thoracic surgery at Good Samaritan. Both doctors' names appear on the offered patient ID wristband, along with the patient's information: "KENNEDY, SEN. ROBERT / DR. H. CUNEO, DR. B. MEYER / 68-5691."

The accompanying letter of provenance signed by Officer Stolle's son-in-law explains how he acquired the wristband. It reads in part:

At the second hospital, Tony accompanied the Senator from the Intensive Care Unit up to the surgery room. After the Senator was transferred to the operating table for surgery, an attendant wheeling the gurney back out of the surgery room gave Tony Senator Kennedy's hospital patient wristband. Tony later gave the wristband to my mother-in-law, Ramona Stolle. Knowing I was a history buff, Ramona gave the Senator's wristband to me. I kept it for many years. The Robert F. Kennedy hospital patient wristband, pictured here, has stayed in our family for over 50 years. Accompanying this letter is a video interview I did with Tony Stolle, in which he recounts the events of June 5, 1968.

The video interview with Officer Stolle can be viewed above. In the video he recounts the details of that day including traveling with the Senator to Good Samaritan Hospital and helping take care of security for the Kennedy family. There were many family members on hand the evening of the shooting, including Senator Kennedy's wife, and other family members arrived all during the day on June 5, including Jacqueline Kennedy. She had left London that morning when she heard the terrible news about events with which she was all too familiar. She arrived at Good Samaritan Hospital late in the day after changing planes in New York.

Senator Kennedy was rushed into surgery, but the damage was far too great. He held on for more than 26 hours after the shooting, but passed away in the early morning hours of June 6, 1968. Like the assassinations of his brother President John F. Kennedy five years earlier and the Reverend Martin Luther King only a few months earlier, the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy shook America to its foundations and remains a tragic touchstone in our history.

The offered hospital patient ID wristband measures 4 1/4 x 1 inches, and would measure 9 inches fully unfolded. It remains folded and secured by its snap enclosure as it was on June 5, 1968. Near Mint condition.

Senator Robert F. Kennedys Hospital Patient ID Wristband from the Day of His Assassination, June 5, 1968
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000
Final prices include buyers premium: $12,075
Estimate: $25,000 - $50,000
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Saturday, January 16, 2021.
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