The charitable foundation of late US president Ronald Reagan has condemned a British auction house for selling a vial that purportedly contains his blood.
Bids above £6,000 have been made for the specimen vial and supporting documentation, apparently from the hospital where the then president was treated after a 1981 assassination attempt, reports Sky News.
“If indeed this story is true, it’s a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase,” Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation executive director, John Heubusch said in a statement.
The macabre memorabilia has been promoted on the Bristol-based website of Peter Fraser Collectibles and conducted by its Guernsey associate, PFC Auctions.
Both websites are registered to Peter Fraser in the Channel Isles.
The auction for the green-capped vial and letter from Bio-Science Laboratories is due to run until May 24.
PFC Auctions said the vial of dried residue was taken at George Washington University Hospital on March 30, 1981, after Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr.
The provenance letter explained that the seller’s late mother had worked at the medical lab where the presidential blood was examined.
A PFC Auctions representative could not be reached for comment.
The auction website showed a picture of the blood-filled vial with a typed label stuck to it showing the president’s name.
Reagan suffered a punctured lung and internal bleeding when he was shot by Hinckley outside the Washington Hilton Hotel.
Three other officials were shot but Hinckley was later found not guilty of 13 charges by reason of insanity.
Heubusch said the presidential foundation had spoken to the hospital where Reagan was treated and assured an investigation was under way into “how something like this could possibly happen”.
The seller’s provenance letter said contact had previously been made with the California-based Ronald Reagan Library and Museum, which is run by the late president’s foundation.