“I’m committed to defending our Veterans, and that means
preserving their symbols of honor like the Purple Heart. These medals belong
with families or in museums, not on an auction block.” Congressman Cook states.
Congressman Cook Re-introduces
Ban on Sale of
Purple Heart Medals Bill R544
Washington D C, U.S. Congressman Paul Cook (R-Apple
Valley) re-introduced HR 544, the
Private Corrado Piccoli Purple Heart Preservation Act. Tuesday January
Bill 544 prohibits the sale of any Purple Heart medal presented
by the United States government to a wounded service member or the service member’s
family. Military collectors often acquire these Purple Hearts, sometimes
through underhanded means, and resell them as collectable items. These medals
sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars on the collector market.
Bill 544 is named for Private Corrado Piccoli, a WWII infantryman
killed in action in 1944. A Purple Heart medal accompanied the telegram
informing Private Piccoli’s family of his death. Sadly, years later and after
his parents’ passing, the medal was lost. Army Captain Zachariah Fike
discovered the lost medal in 2011 and, after researching the name engraved on
the medal, returned it to Private Piccoli’s surviving siblings. The experience
inspired Captain Fike to found Purple Hearts
Reunited, an organization that has, to date, returned over 300
Purple Hearts and rescued 700 more.
As Veterans or their survivors pass away, dozens of these
Purple Hearts become lost every year and find their way into pawn shops,
secondhand stores, and estate sales. Service organizations like Purple Hearts
Reunited work tirelessly to rescue these medals and return them to families.
The profiteering actions of military collectors make this task even more
difficult as medals find their way onto the market and away from their rightful
places of honor.
Representative Cook, wounded twice in combat himself,
said, “These military collectors cheapen the Purple Heart by buying and selling
this symbol of sacrifice like a pack of baseball cards. I’m committed to
defending our Veterans, and that means preserving their symbols of honor like
the Purple Heart. These medals belong with families or in museums, not on an
A member of the House Natural Resources, Armed Services,
and Foreign Affairs Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired
after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in
combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.