Auction claims it's selling vial with Ronald Reagan blood

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A Channel Islands auction house says it's selling a vial that allegedly contains blood residue from Ronald Reagan a move denounced on Tuesday by the late US president's foundation.

The vial being auctioned online was used by the laboratory that tested Reagan's blood when he was hospitalized after a 1981 assassination attempt in Washington, the PFCAuctions house said.

John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in California, condemned the auction and vowed to try to halt it.

Bidding for the vial had passed the 7,000-pound (USD11,000) mark on Tuesday, the house said, and the auction ends on Thursday.

"If indeed this story is true, it's a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase," Heubusch said in a statement. "We've spoken to GW (George Washington) Hospital and are assured an investigation as to how something like this could possibly happen is underway.

"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," he said.

The auction house on the Channels Islands between England and France said on its website that the blood vial did not come from the Washington hospital that treated Reagan but from the Bio Science Laboratory in Columbia, Maryland.

The item is a five-inch glass vial that is one half-inch in diameter and has a green rubber stopper. The auction house says it clearly contains traces of dried blood.

The vial is being sold by a man whose late mother took it from the laboratory with permission weeks after the tests were made, auction house spokeswoman Kylie Whitehead said.

"No one from the foundation or from the family has complained to us," she said on Tuesday. In a statement on the auction house's website, the seller said he tried to interest the Reagan library in purchasing the vial from him but did not succeed. He said the lab director told his mother she could take it.

The auction house website says the seller claimed he was a supporter of Reagan's conservative economic policies and believes the late president would have wanted him to sell the vial rather than donate it.

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