RONALD REAGAN BLOOD VIAL AUCTION UPDATE
“PFC Auctions announces that it made contact yesterday evening with The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation regarding the Auctioning of the Ronald Reagan laboratory blood vial. What has not been widely reported is that the auction consignor purchased the item at a public auction in the USA in February 2012 for $3,550. Bidding on the PFC Auctions website currently stands at $30,086, and we have negotiated with the consignor to arrange for the item to be withdrawn from the auction and donated to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, a considerable financial gesture from the consignor. The consignor, who wishes to remain anonymous has stated: “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. I have dealt with the team at PFC Auctions for over 10 years so they were naturally my first choice when I chose to re-auction the item. The publicity generated by PFC Auctions for their current Auction has clearly highlighted the importance of this historical artefact and I would personally be delighted to see this important artefact put on public display by the Foundation. This now concludes matters to the benefit of The Ronald Reagan Foundation, and protects the legacy of Ronald Reagan as a President of the United States.”
John Heubusch, the Executive Director for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation said “We are very pleased with this outcome and wish to thank the consignor and PFC Auctions for their assistance in this matter. While we contend that the removal of the vial from the hospital laboratory and the US auction sale in February 2012 were not legal acts in our opinion, we are grateful to the current custodian of the vial for this generous donation to the Foundation Ensuring President Reagan’s blood remains out of public hands.”
Original Lot Description
The 5” glass vial with a half inch diameter has a green rubber stopper. Dried blood residue from President Reagan (1911-2004) can be seen clearly in the vial with a quarter-inch ring of blood residue at the end of the inserted rubber stopper.
A 3½” x 1” white label has been affixed to the vial. It is printed, in purple ink, “REAGAN RONALD 940029 THOR / 610892572 AARON PRESIDENTIAL / SUITE 3/30/81 M 2/02/11 JAP.” 940029 was Reagan’s patient ID. AARON refers to Benjamin L. Aaron who was Chief of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery at George Washington University Hospital where Reagan was in the Presidential Suite. THOR refers to thoracic. Reagan was admitted on March 30 1981 and M refers to male. The President’s date of birth is incorrectly stated as “2/02/11” when his actual date of birth is February 6 1911.
A second white label, this time printed in green identifies the manufacturer of the vial as “BD / Rutherford, N.J. 07070” – Becton, Dickinson and Company – and “Sodium Heparin / Sterile Interior.” The interior of the tube wall is coated with the anticoagulant sodium heparin which inhibits clotting. This BD “vacutainer” label is filled out in black felt tip marker: “For lead level / Draw 15ml + invert.”
The vial is accompanied by a 7” x 5½” printed form on light green paper headed “Bio-Science Laboratories,” filled out in ink: [Patient] “REAGAN RONALD” [Ident No.] “940079” / [Patient’s Age] “70” [Sex] “M” / [Referring Physician] “AARON” / [Total Number of Containers Submitted for this Specimen] “3” / [Dates of Collection] “4-6-7” / [Name of Physician, /Hospital or Lab.] “William L. Marsh MD / Geo Washington un Hp / 901-23rd Street NW / Washington DC 20037.” Dr. William L. Marsh was the Director of Laboratory Medicine at the George Washington University Hospital. [Other Tests or Instructions?] “LEAD LEVEL” No tests desired are marked in the list printed at the right. Reagan’s Patient ID number, 940079, is circled in green felt tip. At the right, on the printed listing of tests, a notation in green felt tip reads “622 / Int- / BSx – M – Vitol.” Sixteen branches of the Bio-Science Laboratories are listed on verso, including the Baltimore/Washington Branch in Columbia, Maryland.
The face of the form features two small pieces of transparent tape, partial separation at a horizontal hold between two lines of Marsh information and creases but is otherwise in very good condition.
President Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr on March 30 1981 as he was leaving the Washington Hilton Hotel after addressing a group of union officials.
Also included in this lot is a letter of provenance which reads:
“These articles have actually been in my family’s possession since 03/30/1981, the day that President Reagan was shot in Washington D.C. Back in the 70’s and 80’s, my mother worked for Bio Science Laboratories in Columbia, Maryland. Her laboratory was the laboratory contracted by Walter Reed Army Medical Center as well as the George Washington University Hospital to handle blood testing as well as other types of testing. Her lab did the blood work and testing for President Reagan. The test tube and the lab slip that I have are for his blood work to be tested for lead on [Monday] 03/30/1981. The testing was completed and the test tube was sitting on my mother’s desk. At the end of the week, she asked the director of her laboratory if she could keep the paper work and the test tube. The director of the lab told her no problem and really never gave it a second thought. It has been in my family ever since. My mother passed away back in November last year  and my father passed away in January 2009. Prior to their passing, they knew that it was the only thing that I wanted with regards to their personal property or money that they accumulated over the years…
“About 3 to 4 months ago, I contacted the Reagan National Library and spoke to the head of the library, a Federal Agent. I told him what I had, how I came across it and so on. We spoke for about 45 minutes. The reason that I contacted the Reagan National Library was to see if they would like to purchase it from me. He indicated that if I was interested in donating it he would see to it that he would take care of all of the arrangements. Prior to hanging up the phone, he said to me, do me a favor, don’t move from where you are, I will call you back within 30 minutes but I have to make a couple of phone calls to seek legal counsel, consult with National Archives, the FBI and other three or four letter agencies that I have heard of. I said am I in any kind of trouble or will there be some black cars/suv’s or helicopters hovering above my home and he said not yet but possibly in the very near future depending on what he learned from the phone calls he had to make. I told him alright, I will not move from where I was sitting and would await his return call. He called back in 25 minutes and said that everything was ok, National Archives was not interested in what I had, nor was the Secret Service, the FBI and other agencies. Since 30 years had passed by, he thought that it was simply something that was of no importance at this time and that I was free to do with whatever I wanted with it. He then stated that he felt the family would be interested in it being returned to them and if I was interested in doing so to contact him and he would make all of the arrangements. I told him that I didn’t think that was something that I was going to consider, since I had served under Pres. 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.”