Reagan son blasts purported sale of father's blood

5:58 AM, May 23, 2012   |    comments
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(CBS News) An online auction house is accepting online bids for a glass vial purportedly containing a blood sample of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan, a claim that was called "outrageous" by the former president's son.

According to PFCAuctions.com, the 5-inch glass vial contains dried blood residue from President Reagan, from a sample taken at the time of the assassination attempt on the president in 1981.

As of Tuesday afternoon, bidding for the vial passed 7,000 pounds (around $11,000). The online auction ends Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.

Reagan's son Michael condemned the auction but said he was confident it was not his father's blood.

"Whatever's in the vial - could be mouse blood - it's certainly not Reagan blood," Reagan said in a telephone call with the Associate Press. "And what an outrageous thing to do to (Reagan's widow) Nancy and the family. I hope the world calls on this organization to cease and desist because it's so bogus."

"Even if it were true, how dare they, how dare they do such a thing?"

The Reagan Presidential Foundation also expressed outrage.

"If indeed this story is true, it's a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase," executive director John 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.

PFC Auctions: Ronald Reagan Blood Vial

The tube was allegedly obtained by a woman who worked at Bio Science Laboratories in Columbia, Md., whose laboratory did the blood work and testing for Reagan while he was being treated at George Washington University Hospital.

The paperwork accompanying the blood vial indicates the lab work was to test for lead.

The sample's owner said his or her late mother had asked the director of her laboratory if she could keep the paper work and test tube and was told it was no problem.

On March 30, 1981 President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. as he was leaving the Washington Hilton Hotel. He suffered extensive internal bleeding but survived the assassination attempt. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and has been confined at a psychiatric hospital, granted increasing time outside in recent years.

According to PFC, which is based in the Channel Islands between England and France, the owner contacted the Reagan National Library about selling the blood sample to them. They declined, but inquired about a possible donation. The owner, an Army veteran, was a fan of the president and of "Reaganomics," and suggested that "President Reagan himself would rather see me sell it rather than donating it."

PFC Auction house told CBS News they have not been contacted by the Reagan Foundation or by anyone on its behalf regarding the sale of Reagan's blood. If PFC is contacted, they said they will discuss and consider the issue before proceeding.

Reuters reports that both George Washington University Hospital and the Reagan National Library declined to comment.

David Morgan, CBSNews.com

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