The auction house that recently put a vial of Ronald Reagan’s blood up for sale has backed down and officially cancelled the auction. The seller will instead donate the sample to the former President’s foundation, the Associated Press reports.
The vial reportedly contains dried residue of Reagan’s blood, obtained from a laboratory where researchers were testing for traces of lead after the President was wounded in a 1981 assassination attempt. The anonymous seller claims he obtained the vial legally earlier this year at a U.S. auction, and decided to put it on the market this week. By Tuesday, bidding at Europe-based PFCAuctions.com had crept past $10,000, and had reached $30,000 when the sale was suspended Thursday.
On the auction website, the seller had written, “Reagan when he was my Commander in Chief when I was in the ARMY from ’87-’91 and that I was a real fan of Reaganomics and felt that Pres. Reagan himself would rather see me sell it rather than donating it.” But alas, criticism from Reagan’s family, foundation and former surgeon was swift and relentless, prompting the seller to change his original plan and donate the highly sought-after item after all.
Reagan’s family questioned not just the morality of the decision, but also the authenticity of the item in the question. Reagan’s son, Michael, deemed the entire situation “bogus” and “outrageous.”
Members of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation also expressed their disapproval, deeming the auction a “craven act.” So the decision to close it was certainly met favorably.
“We are very pleased with this outcome and wish to thank the consignor and PFC Auctions for their assistance in this matter,” John Heubusch, executive director of the foundation, told the AP. He said it was important to keep the late President’s blood “out of public hands.”