WASHINGTON - How much is a drop of presidential blood worth?
An online auction site is hoping to find out by selling a vial that it claims was used to draw Ronald Reagan’s blood while he was recovering from the gunshot wound that nearly killed him in 1981. To top it off, the auction site says, “dried blood residue’’ is clearly visible inside the vial.
The auction drew the immediate scorn of doctors who treated the president, and the director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation threatened legal action to stop the sale, calling the auction a “craven act.’’
“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,’’ said John Heubusch, executive director of the foundation.
So far, the auction, which ends Thursday, has garnered bids that have topped about $8,000. The site, PFC Auctions, is based on the island of Guernsey, an autonomous British protectorate, in the English Channel.
PFC said the vial is being sold on behalf of the son of a deceased woman who worked at a laboratory that tested Reagan’s blood, which had been drawn while he was treated at George Washington University Hospital.
The lab worker was permitted to keep the vial and its accompanying paperwork by a supervisor at Bio-Science Laboratories, the son wrote in a statement posted on the auction site. The mother kept the vial until her death in 2010. The unidentified man said he contacted the “Ronald Reagan National Library’’ - he meant the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library - in Simi Valley, Calif., and was told that the National Archives would accept the vial but not pay for it. “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,’’ the man wrote on the PFC website.