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Auction of vial said to contain Ronald Reagan blood halted

May 24, 2012 |  9:33 am

A vial allegedly containing Ronald Reagan's dried blood residue.

A vial that purportedly contains Ronald Reagan’s blood has been donated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation after expressions of outrage over its pending sale by a British auction house.

The foundation, which threatened legal action over the sale, expressed relief Thursday.

“While we contend that the removal of the vial from the hospital laboratory and the U.S. auction sale in February 2012 were not legal acts in our opinion, we are grateful to the current custodian of the vial for this generous donation to the foundation ensuring President Reagan’s blood remains out of public hands,” said John Huebusch, the foundation’s executive director.

The sale was to close Thursday, and bids on the PFC Auctions website had topped $30,000. The vial contained blood drawn from Reagan while he was at George Washington University Hospital after surviving an attempted assassination on March 30, 1981, according to the auction house.

After it was tested, a woman who worked at a laboratory connected with the hospital was allowed by her supervisor to take the glass tube home — where it remained in her family until one of her grown children decided to sell it earlier this year.

The seller approached the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, which urged a donation but declined to purchase it, according to a statement on the auction house’s website. It was then auctioned for $3,550 and acquired by a collector of presidential artifacts who placed it with PFC Auctions.

It was this unnamed collector who decided to take it off the market.

“The publicity … has clearly highlighted the importance of this historical artifact,” the collector said in a statement on PFC’s website, “and I would personally be delighted to see this important artifact put on public display by the foundation.”

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Photo: A vial allegedly containing Ronald Reagan's dried blood residue. Credit: The Associated Press