Purse: $250. Lawmakers’ pix: priceless

One gem stood out in the Everybody Wins! literacy gala’s recent silent auction.

Stuck alongside a $250 beaded purse, a birthday cake package and other items was something called the Congressional Collection, whose value was estimated as “priceless.”

ADVERTISEMENT
The prize featured signed and framed photos of several lawmakers, including Sens. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Supreme Court allows states to collect sales taxes from online retailers | Judge finds consumer bureau structure unconstitutional | Banks clear Fed stress tests Supreme Court rules states can require online sellers to collect sales tax 13 GOP senators ask administration to pause separation of immigrant families MORE (R-Tenn.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe American economy is stronger than ever six months after tax cuts Dem senators introduce bill to ban controversial voter purges The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix MORE (D-Ohio), Mike EnziMichael (Mike) Bradley EnziHouse panel to mark up 2019 budget Overnight Defense: Top general defends Afghan war progress | VA shuffles leadership | Pacific Command gets new leader, name | Pentagon sued over HIV policy Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA MORE (R-Wyo.), Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinDem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Trump should require federal contractors to follow the law MORE (D-Iowa), Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Court ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit MORE (D-S.D.), Carl LevinCarl Milton LevinHow House Republicans scrambled the Russia probe Congress dangerously wields its oversight power in Russia probe The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by CVS Health — Trump’s love-hate relationship with the Senate MORE (D-Mich.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.); and Reps. Bruce BraleyBruce Lowell BraleyOPINION | Tax reform, not Trump-McConnell feuds, will make 2018 a win for GOP Ten years later, House Dems reunite and look forward Trump: Ernst wanted 'more seasoning' before entertaining VP offer MORE (D-Iowa), Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) and Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerHouse panel rejects war authorization sunset it passed last year House panel approves 4.6B Pentagon spending bill Overnight Defense: Senators offer bill to curb Trump's tariff power | Bill could get vote in defense bill debate | House panel unveils 4.6B Pentagon spending bill | Mattis says tariffs won't hurt NATO ties MORE (R-Texas).

The collection also included a signed pamphlet from Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii); a signed “The Dark Knight” movie poster from Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyOvernight Defense: Defense spending bill amendments target hot-button issues | Space Force already facing hurdles | Senators voice 'deep' concerns at using military lawyers on immigration cases Senators 'deeply troubled' military lawyers being used for immigration cases Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos MORE (D-Vt.); and a Vineyard Vines tote bag and signed book from Sen. John KerryJohn Forbes KerryShould President Trump, like President Obama, forsake human rights in pursuit of the deal with a tyrant? GOP Senate report says Obama officials gave Iran access to US financial system Democrats conflicted over how hard to hit Trump on Iran MORE (D-Mass.) and wife Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Surprisingly, more than an hour into the auction there were no bids on the Congressional Collection, despite the low starting bid of $100. Ninety minutes into the event, however, two women showed interest in one of the so-called priceless items.

“I like the Vineyard Vines tote,” one said.

“Oh, yeah,” her companion replied.

Minutes passed, and the item got its first bid — only to have the bidder return and scratch out her name.

But just before the auction’s close, someone named Rachel Fenton came to the item’s rescue. She was the only bidder. (It at least fared better than other auction items; one organizer stomped through the room and huffed, “Nobody bid on my flute lessons.”)

Fenton is a legislative director for Ehlers. She had no comment on her bid, but urged other staffers to get involved with the literacy organization.