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Auction Of Reagan's Blood Draws Condemnation

An online auction of a vial said to contain blood drawn from President Reagan on the day he was shot in 1981 is "a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase," says a spokesman for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981, outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. According to documents posted by the British auction house, PFC Auctions, the blood was drawn that day at George Washington University Hospital and then sent to Bio Science Laboratories in Columbia, Md.

The unidentified man who enlisted PFC to auction the vial says his mother, now deceased, worked at the lab. At the end of that week in 1981, "she asked the director of her laboratory if she could keep the paper work and the test tube" that still contained some of the president's blood, according to a "letter of provenance" he submitted with the vial. "The director of the lab told her no problem."

As of noon ET, the top bid for the blood on PFC's website was nearly $12,000. The auction is scheduled to end on Thursday.

John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, is outraged, The Associated Press reports. Not only does the foundation plan to challenge the sale, but "we've [also] spoken to GW [George Washington] Hospital and are assured an investigation as to how something like this could possibly happen is underway," he told the wire service. "Any individual, including a president of the United States, should feel confident that once they enter into the care of a medical system their privacy and rights are held inviolable."

Update at 2:05 p.m. ET, May 23. Price Keeps Rising:

It's All Politics says the bidding is up above $14,400.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.