LONDON - A European auction house on Thursday canceled the online sale of a vial containing dried blood residue said to be from Ronald Reagan after complaints from the late president’s family and foundation.
PFC Auction house said the seller had withdrawn the item, which was linked to the 1981 assassination attempt on Reagan, and plans to donate it to the former president’s foundation.
The seller, who has remained anonymous, obtained the vial at a US auction this year.
The decision not to sell the controversial item was praised by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation in California, which had plans to try to stop the sale.
The item is said to have been taken from a laboratory that tested Reagan’s blood for lead in the days after he was seriously wounded.
Reagan’s family, his foundation, and his surgeon had criticized the proposed sale. They said it was a violation of the family’s privacy for medical items linked to his treatment to be sold on the open market.
Online bidding on the item had reached more than $30,000 when the sale was suspended. It had been set to conclude Thursday evening.
In its statement, the auction house, which is based in the Channel Islands between England and France, revealed new details about the aborted sale.
It said the seller had purchased the item at a public auction in the United States earlier this year for $3,550. It quoted the seller as saying he was a serious collector of presidential memorabilia who had donated to museums in the past.
“I would personally be delighted to see this important artifact put on public display by the Foundation,’’ the seller said.