Finally, a bloody good decision
An auction house announced Thursday it had withdrawn from sale a vial said to contain blood taken from late US president Ronald Reagan after he was shot in 1981.
Thursday 31 May 2012, 02:28PM
PFC Auctions, based on the Channel Island of Guernsey, said the owner had agreed to donate the item to the California-based Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, which had threatened legal action to stop the sale.
The auction house said it had “negotiated with the consigner to arrange for the item to be withdrawn from the auction and donated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, a considerable financial gesture from the consignor.”
Bidding in the auction, which was due to conclude at 1900 GMT on Thursday, had reached $30,086 (B950,340), PFC Auctions said.
The five-inch (12.5-centimetre) long, half-inch diameter vial dates from the March 30, 1981 assassination attempt, when Reagan was shot and wounded by the deranged John Kinkley Jr.
The lot description says “dried blood residue from president Reagan (1911-2004) can be seen clearly” in a quarter-inch ring at the end of the rubber stopper.
A letter of provenance said the vial came from a woman who worked at a Maryland laboratory that did a blood test for lead after the shooting.
The seller, who wishes to remain anonymous, bought the item at a public auction in the US in February for US$3,550 (B112,000), said PFC, a boutique online auctioneer on Guernsey.
The seller said in a statement: “I realised what an important artefact this was when bidding in the US auction.
“I am a serious collector of presidential memorabilia, and have donated to museums before, and thought from the provenance supplied at the auction where I purchased, that the Reagan Foundation had no interest in the item.”
He said the reaction to the sale “clearly highlighted the importance of this historical artefact and I would personally be delighted to see it put on public display.”
After the 1981 blood test was completed, the vial remained on the laboratory employee’s desk and her director said she could keep the paperwork and the test tube.
After she died, it was put up for sale by her son.