Auction site offers blood from Ronald Reagan assassination bid

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Ex-President's foundation threatens legal action to prevent Guernsey firm selling grisly souvenir

The "craven" auction of a vial of Ronald Reagan's blood by a British auction house has sparked outrage in America, with the former US President's Foundation threatening legal action over its sale.

Bidding on the glass vial, whose contents were taken at the hospital where Mr Reagan was treated after an attempt on his life in 1981, reached £7,587 yesterday evening. It's just one of many unusual items listed on the Guernsey-based PFC Auctions website, where other lots include the charred remains of Michael Jackson's hair and a stale slice of cake from last year's royal wedding.

Mr Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr in Washington, DC, on 30 March 1981, just 69 days into his first term. He suffered a punctured lung and heavy internal bleeding. His assassin, who was seeking to impress the actress Jodie Foster with his shooting prowess, was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation issued a statement threatening legal action. "If indeed this story is true, it's a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase," said its executive director John Heubusch. "We've spoken to GW [George Washington University] Hospital and are assured an investigation as to how something like this could possibly happen is underway."

However, a PFC spokesperson said the Foundation hadn't been in contact, but that, "we would certainly discuss it with the foundation if and when they call".

The vial containing dried blood and labelled with the President's name comes complete with a letter of provenance from the seller claiming that his or her mother "did the blood work and testing for President Reagan" and was allowed to keep the sample. The seller said they contacted the Reagan National Library "three to four months ago", when the organisation expressed an interest in receiving the vial as a donation. But the offer was declined: "I was a real fan of Reaganomics and felt that President Reagan himself would rather see me sell it rather than donating it."

Three bidders have expressed an interest in the auction, which closes at 6pm tomorrow. PFC said they would "expect a rush" over the coming hours, as bids normally "shoot up" as the auction reaches its end. The company specialises in the weird and wonderful, but admitted that blood vials are "not particularly common".

Also on sale are three strands of Michael Jackson's hair. They were taken when the singer's barnet caught fire while shooting a Pepsi commercial in 1984, but have yet to reach the minimum bid of £100. A lock of Justin Bieber's hair, however, has a minimum of £20,000. "It's a sign of the times," a spokesperson said. "I'm not sure how many teenyboppers will be bidding on the hair but we'll see."

On its Royal section, the race is on to see whose wedding cake is more valuable. A slice from William and Kate's Fiona Cairns creation will set you back £1,453, but a similarly sized piece of Charles and Diana's 1981 bake edges it at £1,464.

Teeth, hair... and kidney stones: Celebrity auctions

Jack Nicholson's teeth

In 2001, the now defunct channel Auction World.TV claimed to be in possession of 11 baby and adult teeth belonging to the Oscar-winning actor Jack Nicholson. Offers in excess of £6,000 were reported, but it is not clear whether the sale went through.

Brangelina's exhalations

At the premiere of Mr and Mrs Smith in 2005, the air breathed by Angelia Jolie and Brad Pitt was "captured in a jar". The jar sold for £336.

Britney Spears's chewing gum

"It is completely preserved... with Britney's teeth marks highly visible," promised the seller who put a discarded piece of the pop star's chewing gum up on eBay. It sold for £8,870 in 2004.

Che Guevara's hair

Despite protests from the revolutionary's widow and supporters, strands of hair taken from Guevara's corpse by a former CIA operative were auctioned off for £58,000 in 2007. There was only one bidder, a bookshop owner in Houston, Texas.

Napoleon Bonaparte's penis

The genitals of the French emperor were smuggled from the autopsy table, turning up in Corsica in 1821. The most recent sale came in 1977 in Paris, where they was purchased by urologist Dr John Kingsley Lattimer for £1,840.

William Shatner's kidney stone

"This takes organ donors to a new height, to a new low, maybe," said the Star Trek actor William Shatner on auctioning off his kidney stone. The 2006 sale raised £14,000 for Habitat for Humanity, a Christian housing charity.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Sport
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk